As we near the end of 2022, I’ve been reflecting on the year that was. With interest rates, inflation and the cost of living continuing an upwards trend, there’s no doubt it’s been a difficult year for many across Aotearoa.
Despite these challenges, Whai Rawa has achieved a lot over the past 12 months.
Kāinga Kaumātua is one of the key highlights. Co-designed by kaumātua, this project is the epitome of why Whai Rawa exists – to protect and grow the commercial asset base to support whānau aspirations. It was a privilege to attend the Property Awards to receive Merit in the Community & Affordable Housing category.
Whānau housing remains a priority for Whai Rawa and this year we shared the news of our new papa kāinga housing on the corner of Hawaiki and Kupe Street. We’re currently in the planning phase for this development and expect civils works to begin shortly. We’re working very hard to bring a couple of banks to the table to assist whānau with finance to buy the homes and look forward to sharing more information with you soon.
Also at the papa kāinga, we will be upgrading the intersection at Kepa Road and Kupe Street with traffic lights, with Government funding of up to $7.3 million made secured for this work.
The progress we’ve made at Oneoneroa, our residential development on the North Shore, is also something we’re proud of. This year, we welcomed 13 new residents who purchased homes last year. The profits we make from this development help us to reinvest back in to the hapū including in papakāinga housing and we are already receiving good interest in the next stage of 16 homes that are due to be completed this summer.
Te Tōangaroa remains a key asset. It is special both in its location, right in the heart of the city, and it is our largest commercial asset, in value and return. We’ve continued to elevate the Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei presence in the precinct through Mahi Toi projects and have more whānau art installations in the pipeline.
We’re always looking at potential investments and opportunities that are presented and one such opportunity was Downtown Carpark development. Over several months, we worked with Precinct Properties in support of a proposal to Eke Panuku Development Auckland (part of Auckland Council) for the redevelopment of the Downtown Carpark site. The partnership we have with Precinct encompasses cultural, design and commercial elements. We will keep whānau updated of any future developments when we’re in a position to share more.
Toi Tupu, our savings and investment scheme has played an important role over the past few years. As the cost of living increases, we’re pleased that Toi Tupu has helped to relieve some pressure for whānau who have been struggling. This year, we deposited $2.3 million into Toi Tupu accounts and the number of whānau enrolled has increased which is great to see.
Our residential team also continued its great work, carrying out our maintenance and upgrade programme for tenanted whare with more than $780,000 invested this financial year.
It was a big year at Eastcliffe retirement village, as we welcomed Merrin Gemmell into the Village Manager role, and Nurse Manager Angela Ortinero. Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei uri Kirimoana Willoughby as Assistant Village Manager rounded out the new look management team, with Kirimoana’s appointment helping to strengthen the relationship with Ngāti Whātua Orakei.
Through out the year, Whai Rawa has benefited from the strong leadership of our Board Chair Michael Stiassny who is stepping down in 2023. Michael has made an immense contribution to Whai Rawa and was a real help to me when I stepped in to Whai Rawa. We’ll miss his input.
Although the year ahead will undoubtedly present some challenges as a recession looks increasingly likely, we are in a strong position to withstand these economic headwinds. We have a valuable property portfolio and low debt levels, with some exciting projects and developments in the pipeline.
We look forward to continuing to share our progress with you next year.
From all of us at Whai Rawa, I hope you all have a restful break with friends and whānau.
Ngā mihi manahau o te wā o Hineraumati! Hei te tau 2023 e te whānau.
Photo Credit: @dillonphotonz