“Oneoneroa, our newest development on the North Shore and the first major Auckland residential development headed by local iwi, is a great example of kaitiakitanga being at the forefront of what we do”
A fresh approach to the future of property development – how Ngati Whatua Orakei is changing the game – By Anahera Rawiri
Centuries ago, our tupuna (ancestors) may have inhabited the very first model of medium to high-density housing in Tamaki Makaurau. History tells us that some thousands lived on the slopes of Maungakiekie, taking up residence where they prospered for many a generation.
Today, we see the popularity of medium density continue to increase as Kiwis across the country, and particularly Auckland, see the value in building up
and sharing a community space. There is much more to property development than just building houses or commercial spaces, and this is where Ngati Whatua
Orakei is keen on bringing a unique perspective to the property industry.
Long-term vision and values
Having recently been appointed to the Property Council of New Zealand’s Auckland branch, I am excited about the prospect of driving thought change and bringing a unique iwi lens to a centuries-old sector. Unlike other developers who are driven by various commercial interests, as a hapu (group), Ngati Whatua Orakei’s property arm exists for one reason and one reason alone – to develop and generate important revenue to invest in our hapu for the betterment of our whanau (family), the descendants of Tuperiri.
Our commercial ventures allow us to achieve our tribal development aspirations, which include health, education and environmental initiatives, and deliver housing solutions for our whanau within our papakainga (home base) in Orakei.
We are guided not only by our values, but by a long-term vision that spans generations. Where many companies may focus on where they’d like to be in five to 15 years, we are looking much further down the line. Our tupuna (ancestor) Apihai Te Kawau gifted 3000 acres of the Auckland CBD to Governor Hobson to settle his people. That was 180 years ago – what will 180 years from now look like for us?
Kaitiakitanga – guardianship
Sustainability and kaitiakitanga are foundational values of Ngati Whatua Orakei and this is no different for our property development arm. Any of the developments we are involved with are equally guided by this value, which means all homes are built to a minimum 6 Homestar rating from the New Zealand Green Building Council. We also look for every available opportunity to encourage sustainability, whether in the build or within the community.
Oneoneroa, our newest development on the North Shore and the first major Auckland residential development headed by local iwi, is a great example of kaitiakitanga being at the forefront of what we do.
We have a long view of history and a long view of the future, and in developing this whenua (land) we wanted to give something back to the community, reconnecting them with the history of the place.
We chose to revive the ancient and historic names of the area, landmarks and stories of the rohe (area) surrounding Shoal Bay. Oneone means ‘sand’ while roa means ‘long’. It refers to the long sandspits and heaped-up shell banks many are familiar with in this part of the Waitemata Harbour.
This history continues to influence the development as we continue to look at ways to enhance the foreshore along the Oneoneroa coastline.
Beyond the build – enriching a community
We are not your typical developer who will complete a project and move on. We care about the land and the people moving into their new homes. To that end, we undertook an initiative gifting e-bikes to all home buyers in the initial stage of Oneoneroa. In a nod to the new community’s name, the bikes will be called ‘O-Bikes’.
Artist’s impression of the electric ‘O-Bikes’ which were gifted to all home buyers in the initial stage of Oneoneroa
The initiative is a gesture to encourage new residents to minimise their environmental impact and empower them to consider transport options that don’t contribute to local congestion.
To further enhance the environment, we are working to link with our well-established native plant nursery in Orakei. Our aim is to contribute our taonga (treasure) to this area by encouraging more native plants to flourish and create an ongoing connection between the two communities.
The future of property development
Changing the future of commercial property development starts with changing our current mindset and the way we plan ahead. For us, serving our hapu and making decisions in the best interest of generations yet to come steers us in the right direction.
Our decisions are grounded in our values and we do not compromise on those values. This has not hindered our opportunities or our success. We have over 160 ha of commercial and cultural land in our portfolio with an asset value of over $1 billion.
This is the vision and perspective we will share with the industry, and the one I hope to share with the Property Council during my time on the committee.
What might the industry look like if more companies adopted a long-term vision, shifted the focus from the product to the people and the environment, and remained committed to their values?
Anahera Rawiri is the external relationship manager of Ngati Whatua Orakei Whai Rawa, the commercial arm of Auckland hapu Ngati Whatua Orakei ngatiwhatuaorakeiwhairawa.com