Te whakatū papakāinga

Last updated: Rāhina, 04 Hōngongoi, 2022 | Monday, 4 July 2022


What we do

We provide grant funding to support rōpū to progress through the planning for a papakāinga, to get to a point where construction can commence, ie, “shovel ready” (subject to funding).

Te Puni Kōkiri supports the development of small-scale papakāinga (generally 3-10 houses) on whenua Māori, where homes will be owned and occupied by the owners of the whenua, and whānau who whakapapa to the land have the opportunity to live according to Te Ao Māori. Our focus is on rōpū who wish to establish an intentional Te Ao Māori papakāinga community that maintains a connection to their whenua, where identity and whakapapa can come together, which enables intergenerational living and strengthens cultural and spiritual identity and te reo Māori. Papakāinga supported by Te Puni Kōkiri usually incorporate some communal spaces and shared amenities, including for example orchards, communal māra kai, and gathering spaces or recreation areas. Papakāinga will often help provide a base for whānau and community enterprises

Who is eligible?

Rōpū must:

  • Have a formal governance structure (land/Ahu Whenua trust, whānau trust, collective etc).
  • Not have the finances (or capacity to borrow) to fund the full papakāinga feasibility themselves.
  • Not have received prior financial assistance for papakāinga feasibility.
  • Have completed their preliminary planning stages (ie, steps 1 and 2 of the Guide to Papakāinga).
  • Have documented the legal mandating requirements from the landowners to develop a papakāinga.

The proposed papakāinga must be for affordable rental housing (to be owned and operated by the rōpū), or owner-occupied housing, or a combination of both (acknowledging that the feasibility may determine which).   Te Puni Kōkiri does not support planning for commercial developments.

What can the grant be used for?

The grant can cover costs predominantly external to the rōpū such as (but not exclusively):

  • Preliminary investigations – e.g. geotechnical investigation costs.
  • Design – e.g. civil engineering and architecture design.
  • Planning, consent and approvals – e.g. planning costs and resource consent.

The costs above can also be funded to investigate the feasibility of, and plan to, expand an existing papakāinga.

Whānau > Whenua > Whare

Te Puni Kōkiri supports whānau and rōpū to establish sustainable, affordable housing on their whenua.  It’s important to ensure the foundations of the papakāinga are strong before you even think about building the whare.  We encourage those with papakāinga aspirations to prepare by moving through three considerations: whānau, whenua, whare. This process usually takes about 9-10 months. 


Getting whānau on the same page from the start will minimise delays and risks to your papakāinga development.

Start off by considering what your whānau aspirations are.  It can be helpful to get everyone together to discuss your aspirations and make sure you all agree on the use of the whenua.  Talking to whānau can help identify how many houses might be needed, and which whānau can afford to build and own their own homes, and how many might need another option like the land-owning trust owning the homes and renting them to whānau. 

When you know which whānau want to live on the papakāinga, you can consider what they will need in a home to make them fit for whānau purpose.  Do you want multiple generations living in the same whare? How can you future proof the homes for other occupants or needs? What is best for kaumātua and kuia (eg, accessible bathrooms, ramps and rails, an extra bedroom for a carer)

Consider the aspirations of your whānau beyond a warm, safe, dry home – perhaps you’d like to grow your own food (include a maara in your aspirations), maybe you want to encourage and foster te reo Māori on your papakāinga, and perhaps by living on the papakāinga you can re-establish or strengthen the connect to your marae and whenua.


Once you have the whānau aspirations clear, then you can turn your minds to the whenua.  Learn about the whakapapa of your land, and who is connected to it. You will need to understand who has shares in the land, and you may need to update the list of landowners if some have passed away.

In order for a papakāinga to have a good foundation, the governance over the land needs to be strong, and authority needs to be given for you to occupy the land.  In some cases you may need to establish a formal governance structure through the Māori Land Court if this is not already in place (for example an Ahu Whenua Trust).

There will need to be formal minutes from the land owning governing body that document agreement to proceed with a papakāinga, and any agreement for individual whānau who want to build their own whare.


The last consideration is the actual houses to be built and the infrastructure required to connect the houses to services. 

You will need to consider information you gathered in the “whānau” section to determine what is the best typology of house design for your needs.  For example, if you are housing kaumatua then 2 bedroom units are a good option which allow for a family member or carer to live with the kaumatua.  Consider how many families might live on the papakāinga and whether you need more larger 3, 4, or 5+ bedroom homes.

There are a number of options for the houses themselves – you might look to a local building company to build your own design (there are added costs to designing your own bespoke home with an architect or draftsperson), or to a company that offers a number of already designed homes that have features that can be personalised.  Some houses can be built in a factory and transported to your whenua, while others are built on site from scratch.  If you are taking a Kainga Whenua Loan, your whare will need to be on piles (rather than a concrete foundation) as it neds to be removeable as a condition of that loan. 

You will also need to confirm how much of the development costs you will contribute.  The land owning rōpū must contribute to the construction costs of any affordable rental homes, generally between 20 and 40 percent, usually from borrowing or cash reserves.  During the planning & feasibility stage you should engage with your bank to discuss how much you can borrow.  KiwiBank has a specific loan product for whenua Māori – the Kainga Whenua Loan – and you should speak to them to understand the eligibility criteria and conditions of this loan.

The result

At the end of the papakāinga planning (feasibility) stage, you should have

  • confirmation of demand from whānau who want to rent or own a home in the papakāinga,
  • site plans (for infrastructure and housing),
  • relevant technical reports.
  • a fully costed project plan and delivery schedule,
  • resource consents submitted
  • completed Te Puni Kōkiri Application form and a Project Viability Assessment Tool (PVAT), if you are applying to Te Puni Kōkiri for funding for the next stage).

This handy checklist will help rōpū to understand the level of detailed planning required during the feasibility stage, to prepare a papakāinga for funding consideration. 

What level of funding is available?

Each project will differ depending on complexity, external factors and level of previous work undertaken (including as part of papakāinga workshops).  Generally our planning & feasibility grants are up to $90,000 per rōpū.To understand what may be available to support your planning, please contact a regional office near you.

Demand across the rohe exceeds the amount of funding Te Puni Kōkiri has available.  We cannot fund every proposal that meets our criteria, as much as we would like to. 

For more information on what funding is available and what has been delivered go here.


The Papakainga Development Process

A video of the papakainga masterclass from the February 2021 National Maori Housing Conference, sponsored by the Australian Housing Institute (AHI). Paora Sheeran (Sheeran & Associates) provides a “Papakainga Development 101” for whānau and rōpū interested in finding out how to progress their housing aspirations on their whenua.


Guide to Papakāinga Housing

The ‘Guide to Papakāinga Housing’ provides an overview of the papakāinga development process including the steps. Usually preceding this step is a completed project feasibility.

Papakāinga planning tools

Demand for information and guidance for papakāinga developments is high.  Whānau are keen to understand how they can utilise their parcels of whenua to build safe, warm, dry and affordable housing.  Here are some handy tools to help with your planning and preparation:

Papakāinga toolkits

Councils and regions have developed their own Papakāinga Toolkits to assist whānau and rōpū with their planning. These resources provide greater detail on the steps to develop a papakāinga. They are both generic and recognised by the organisations that have supported their development.

Kāinga Whenua Loans

The Kāinga Whenua Loan Scheme is an initiative between Kāinga Ora and Kiwibank to help Māori achieve home ownership on their multiple-owned land.

The loans are available for both Māori land trusts, and individuals with a right to occupy their multiple-owned Māori land. 

For more information, please refer to the Kāinga Ora website

Need more info, or want to apply for funding?

Go here for further resources that support papakāinga development.

Click here to register a housing enquiry with a regional office near you.

For more information on your whenua go to the Tupu website