Kaimahi Kōrero: Residential Team

Providing warm, healthy, safe and dry homes on the papakāinga is one of the aspirations of the hapū. To support this, Whai Rawa upgrades and maintains the properties rented out to whānau to ensure they meet the Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Housing Standards.

Our residential team, led by Arepa Morehu, manage this important mahi on behalf of Whai Rawa so we had a kōrero with Arepa, Assistant Property Manager Jackie Taylor and Property Assistant Rahera Hotu to find out what they’ve been working on recently.

Since beginning the maintenance and upgrade programme in 2013, Whai Rawa has invested millions into upgrading whānau homes. This has included interior work such as the installation of heat pumps, ventilation, insulation, thermal curtains, carpets and safety features such as smoke alarms and residual-current circuit breakers.

The team is also focusing on the exteriors, which includes giving the whare a fresh coat of paint, upgrading the pavements and gutters and any structural works that are required.   

Arepa, who first joined Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Whai Rawa in 2003 as a Tenancy Manager, explained that the team has worked hard to overcome quite significant delays due to Covid lockdowns, weather and labour shortages but despite these challenges, he is proud of the progress they’ve made.

“The upgrades of whare cause quite a bit of disruption and especially with delays as a result of Covid-19, severe weather and labour and material shortages. We’re very grateful to whānau for their patience and assistance,” says Arepa.

Arepa says during the time he has been with Whai Rawa, the role of the residential team has undergone significant changes and continues to grow as they take on more projects to maintain whānau housing stock.

One of those projects is carrying out safety checks on whata. With a strong demand for housing and more people working from home, some whānau have opted to put a whata on the properties managed by Whai Rawa. To ensure whānau living in the whata and the whare are safe, the team has been working with whānau to install smoke alarms, finding a suitable location on the property and checking the whata comply with Auckland Council’s building regulations.

As assistant property manager, Jackie works closely with whānau to ensure the properties are well maintained and repairs are made as quickly as possible.

“We’ve been a part of some great projects within this team and it’s really rewarding to be a part of making sure whānau have warm, safe and dry whare,” shares Jackie.

A memorable highlight for the team was preparing the whare for the opening of Kāinga Kaumatua in January this year.

“This was an exciting moment for the kaumatua and the iwi and I know we are all proud to be able to contribute to a positive future for the hapū – not only through this project, but in all that we do,” says Jackie.

Rahera, who joined Whai Rawa in 2021 says she enjoys being a part of the residential team and the work they do.

“I wake up in the morning looking forward to working with the team and whānau and excited by the variety and different challenges in this line of work.”

Recently, the team was involved in the demolition of old homes acquired from Kāinga Ora along Kupe Street between Hawaiki and Takitimu/Te Arawa Street. These homes were no longer fit for purpose, so it was safer and it made more sense to demolish them and rebuild in the future.

The demolition was completed by one of our whānau owned pakihi, Nikau Construction. The team was really impressed by Nikau Construction, and try their best to work with whānau owned businesses on its projects.


Read more about Nikau Construction here