Housing dream becomes reality for Ratana Pā pair

While higher interest rates might be cooling the housing market, in the tiny town known as Ratana Pā, the demand is still higher than the supply.

Just south of Whanganui, Ratana Pā is the birthplace of the Māori prophet Tahupotiki Wiremu Ratana. It's home to just 345 people.

The settlement is virtually landlocked by farms, making it hard for successive generations to build new homes.

Like many other local women, Talia Anderson-Town left Ratana for the big smoke as a teenager, but she always had a yearning to come home.

Seven years ago, Anderson-Town and her husband Cameron convinced a local farmer to carve off a slice of land on the edge of town so they could build their own home.

Owning her own home in the settlement where she grew up has been a dream come true but she wanted to share that with the generation she grew up with. So the pair bought five more sections and set about building nine more houses at cost price for Anderson-Town's cousins.

One of her relatives, Paola Tamou and her family, were one of the fortunate nine, but it has been no small feat. Tamou, her husband Troy, and their three children moved in with their parents so they could raise the $100,000 needed as the deposit.

All in all, the five sections will provide nine new homes all built at a cost price, of just $375,000 each.

Talia and Cameron will make no profit on the homes; their reward will be recreating a childhood where cousins roam free in a safe environment.

The plans have finally been signed off, and in months to come, the building will begin.

Ka tupu he pāharakeke. Nine whānau were given brand new homes, an incredible achievement that will benefit generations of Ratana Pā kids to come.

Made with support from Te Māngai Pāho and the Public Interest Journalism Fund.