Housing: Young Māori struggling to get on housing ladder as homeownership dramatically declines

As New Zealanders struggle to get a foothold on the housing ladder, young Māori are finding it even harder. 

Māori homeownership has declined dramatically since 1999, with just 26 percent of Māori now owning a home compared with 41 percent for non-Māori. 

"We know that the homeownership levels are at the lowest they've ever been and at this rate look like they might be heading to even lower depths, which is a particular challenge for us," Associate Minister for Housing Peeni Henare told The Hui.

The Government recently announced its new national Māori housing strategy, Maihi Ka Ora. It aims to have a more cohesive partnership with iwi which Henare believes will increase the housing stock for Māori. 

"We know that a lot of our whānau are renters and all of our whānau find themselves in social housing. In order for us to amend this issue, and for us to build more homes for Māori, we need to be able to support iwi with capital investment and infrastructure."

Meanwhile, Rotorua couple Rangipare Ngaropo and Uenukuterangihoka Jefferies, who have just bought their first home, are urging other young Māori not to give up. 

"It was quite disheartening the first few offers we put forward. We'd get really excited about putting an offer forward and then finding out that we were unsuccessful every time. And we started to think, are we ever going to crack it?" Ngaropo told The Hui. 

"Getting pre-approval, applying for grants, all of that stuff is challenging for whānau. I would be embarrassed to ask for things. And my mom said, 'nah, this is a different space, this isn't te ao Māori'. You actually say, can I see this, I would like you to submit this. And that was a huge learning experience for us."

Uenukuterangihoka Jefferies and Rangipare Ngaropo.
Uenukuterangihoka Jefferies and Rangipare Ngaropo. Photo credit: The Hui

Another couple, Ezra and Darzel Hayes, are about to buy their second home and plan to be mortgage-free by their mid-30s.

They told The Hui rangatahi should take a notebook and write down the words they don't understand when house hunting. 

"The side of things that really is hard to understand is the whole jargon of the financial world. You know, there's a lot of words and phrases that they use, so to have someone in the world that really could translate that to us was massively beneficial," Ezra says. 

The couple, who bought in Dannevirke, said being young and Māori, they were looked at like window shoppers at the open homes. But they found a financial advisor to help through the daunting process.

Made with support from Te Māngai Pāho and NZ On Air.

Housing: Young Māori struggling to get on housing ladder as homeownership dramatically declines