Engagement with the community

Porirua City Council, HLC and Ngāti Toa Rangatira held a fono on 13 June 2019 to talk with the community about the eastern Porirua development project.

We had a big turnout – thanks for sharing your views to help guide this exciting opportunity for our city. 

You can read what was discussed at that meeting in the sections below.

It’s still early days in this 25-year project and we’re keen to continue to kōrero with you.

If you weren't able to come along to the fono, or you would like to see the presentation they gave at the fono again, then you can download a copy

At the community fono, people were encouraged to write down any questions or concerns they had. At the end of the fono we collected all of these. There were lots of common themes so we have summarised these below and shared them with all of the project partners.

The answers to some of the questions and concerns raised at the fono can be found on the accompanying FAQ page. For the others, we will provide responses in due course.

Affordability / home ownership

People want to know what the government considers to be “affordable” and are concerned that despite the KiwiBuild houses being deemed “affordable”, they will still be out of reach for current eastern Porirua residents.  They want to know if they will be prioritised for Porirua residents, and whether there will be schemes in place to assist current renters to buy their own homes.

Accountability / the big picture

People want to know who has overall responsibility for the project, and whether that agency has sought learnings from other regeneration developments that would be relevant here.  They wanted to know how the $1.5b figure was obtained and whether that will be enough over such a long period of time.

Engagement approaches

There were a lot of questions around engagement.  In particular people wanted to know what their scope of influence is or are plans already locked in, what the timeframes for engagement are, what the cost is going to be, and what the reporting back process will be.

There was also some advice for HLC including face to face engagement being critical, go to where the people are (rather than expecting them to come to you) and use a variety of languages.

Attendees are concerned that there won’t be ways for voices of different groups to be heard including people with disabilities, urban Māori, other iwi, Pasifika communities, former refugees and HNZ tenants.  There was a lot of emphasis on the need for specific engagement with Pasifika communities, and that HLC needs to properly understand the different approaches being proposed e.g. talanoa.

Pasifika representation / voice

People are concerned that there is no Pasifika leadership or representation evident.  For example there are no Pasifika staff at HLC or Pasifika agencies in the partnership group.

There is concern that this project is affecting Pasifika communities more than any other group therefore transparency and inclusion is essential, and that Pasifika people need to decide who will represent them and how.

Opportunities for the community

Attendees expressed a lot of interest in the potential for employment for locals and young people through procurement policies, as well as opportunities for current renters and young people to move into home ownership.  The project is seen as an opportunity for transformation not regeneration, and that there will be a lot of other economic advantages to be realised. They want assurance that the people buying new houses will be local people moving into ownership as oppose to investors, and that there are schemes in place to support people to become home owners. There were questions about opportunities for current home owners and whether there might be support to help them warm up their homes. Solar panels were seen as an opportunity to reduce power costs for tenants.

Impact of changes on current residents

People are concerned that the project will see the gentrification of eastern Porirua, that private rent will increase and push people out of the area, and that the make-up of the community will change.

They are also concerned that the infrastructure won’t cope with increase demand and that the process being used is another form of colonisation.

They want to know what would happen if there are changes to KiwiBuild.

Rehoming process – moving out and back in

People want reassurances that HCNZ tenants who are moved out will be able to move back to the area they were living in.  They want to know what support will be provided in terms of mental health, cultural needs, and finance, and how much notice will be given to people being moved.  Glen Innes was noted as an example of what they didn’t want to happen here.  Assurance is sought that the current residents are the priority people to move into the new houses, and that for tenants moved out of the area they will still have access to the same services and community networks.  It was noted that the current level of provision is not sufficient, so what will happen to the people on waiting lists and in emergency housing when the options are even further reduced during the rehoming phase.


People asked about the relevance of a previous consultation on education provision, and whether feedback that was given to the Ministry around 2000-2003 asking for single sex schools is still up for consideration.  They also asked if schools are going to be reorganised or closed, especially if the surrounding housing types change.

Housing types and location

Attendees want to know where the new houses are going to be built and what types of houses they will be in terms of number of rooms, and at what density (eg stand alone or terraced).

They want to see consideration for the types of people who will be living in them e.g. large Pasifika families, people with disabilities.  Design for sustainability was mentioned for example solar panels. People also want clarification over the numbers of new houses.

Regeneration Board

There is a call for better transparency around the selection of Board members, and clarification is sought around the Board’s objectives.  People want assurance there will be Pasifika representation and that the community will have a say in the nomination process.

At the community fono there were representatives from all of the partners involved in the Eastern Porirua Regeneration Project. This included representatives from HLC, The Treasury, Ministry of Education, Ngāti Toa and Porirua City Council.

After short presentations about the project from Wendy Walker, the Chief Executive of the Porirua City Council, and Will Pennington, the Project Director from HLC, the community was invited to address any questions they had about the project to the project partners.

Here are the questions the community asked, and the answers the partners provided. 

1. You talk about the Regeneration Board and the engagement process, Eastern Porirua has 60% Pacific population and high youth population, how will treasury ensure there is adequate representation?

Answer (HLC and Treasury representatives)

Thinking around the Regeneration Board;

  • It will be the kaitiaki and guardian of the objectives and vision.
  • Individual parts of the project sit with HLC, PCC, Ngāti Toa.
  • Board vision over the top of the project to make sure it is delivering on the desired outcomes.
  • Will have an escalation path to Ministers

Treasury has been working with HLC, PCC and Ngāti Toa Rangatira on a process for local people to nominate people to the Regeneration Board.

Nominations will be made through our Council, and Councillors will put forward recommendations from the community to Treasury.

The Regeneration Board is expected to have seven members. Draft terms of reference are now being finalised and we will make them available here in the future.

2. Why are there seven Regeneration Board members and what are the objectives of the board?

Answer (Treasury representative)

The draft terms of reference will be made available on this site once completed.

3. I would like to hear your definition of wanting to engage, what’s does deeply engage look like? 

Answer (HLC representative)

  • We know what we don’t know and seek advice when we need more information.
  • Rev Nove has been contracted to provide advice on Pasifika engagement.
  • The Te Ara engagement meetings will start on 22 June (sessions in Cannons Creek, Waitangirua, Ascot Park and Ranui)
  • Aim is to find out what is special in each community
  • The first meeting will be followed by separate conversations with a range of people and groups (young, churches, business, residents groups, Pasifika, former refugees and migrants etc)
  • We are working with consultants to come up with design solutions and then testing these with community to find out if they are the right solution.
  • The engagement will be broad and deep and will be supported by individual on the street surveys to capture as many voices as possible.

4. Why is there no transparency of representation? Seems like you have already analysed, questioned and turned up tonight. I am flabbergasted at the announcement of people I don’t know 

Answer (HLC representative)

The approach being taken is about a wide range of conversations with your community, the process will allow you to draw your lines on the maps, there will be multiple conversations, we will start with the design principles that you have told us are important.

Follow-up comment from the community

Co-design should see the dominant party come with a blank sheet. For many years there has been a top down approach. How dare government select seven members - the community should select the members.

5. Why are Pacific people not on the other side of the table with PCC, HLC, Ngāti Toa as 70% of the community are PI? This should be reviewed. How will the policy group reflect the average income of $12-$14,000?

Answer (Ngāti Toa representative)

A board of seven is an optimal size to make decisions - the larger the size the more difficult it is to get things done.

The land in the east was fraudulently taken by the Crown and Ngāti Toa has right of first refusal on HNZC properties. Ngāti Toa have a proposal underway with the government over the RFR to allow this regeneration of scale to occur.

There is an opportunity for people from this community to be represented but not the opportunity for all groups of people to be represented.

Another group for people who represent other parts of the east could be set up to engage with HLC.

Further Answer (PCC representative) 

Council will call for nominations for the Regeneration Board, these nominations will be considered by Councillors and a number of names will be put forward to Treasury. Treasury will work with Ngāti Toa and PCC to select the final members of the Regeneration Board.

6. Economic cleansing and gentrification, the figures for the project show 2000 new homes (affordable and Kiwi Build) but no increase in state housing other than 150 outside of eastern Porirua. The timeline is to first get people out of houses but this is a 25 year plan. In Glen Innes people were moved out of the area and were not allowed to move back in.

“You’re not going to do a Glen Innes on us”

The 2000 Kiwi Build house are not going to be affordable to people in Porirua.

What assurances are you going to give people who are moved out of the area that they can move back?

Answer (HLC representative)

2000 new homes will be built over the 25 year period.

Around 100 families (living in HNZC properties) every year will be rehoused for a period of up to 18 months.

All existing HNZC tenants will be rehoused into alternative HNZC properties.

The Porirua Development will not be anything like Glen Innes. Our aim is that all rehousing will be in eastern Porirua. In Glen Innes they moved people out of the community.

Glen Innes is not a model that we are looking to follow. 

Any tenant required to move out of the area for rehousing will have the option to moving back to eastern Porirua.

7. What effort is going to be made to assist our renters into Kiwi Build and affordable homes?

Answer (HLC representative)

We don’t have an answer today but looking at options to ensure that new houses built are affordable. Currently looking at what affordable means and likely that Kiwi Build will be reset in the next couple of months. 

We have an open mind as to what the options will be.

Follow-up comment from the community

Affordability is laughable, $700,000 not affordable even $70,000 is not affordable to many.

Why is finance not being provided on a shared equity basis so people partly own houses and developers / government partly own it. We need to have answers before the plans are drawn up.

We don’t want 2000 people coming in from out of Porirua to buy these new houses. We want to see 100’s of people in Porirua being able to own their own homes.

We need assurances, Treasury and you guys to come up with these solutions.

Answer (HLC representative)

We are exploring and looking at these options and will discuss these with you as they develop

8. This is a catalyst project like Transmission Gully, how do we realise the significant economic advantages / potential that come with that type of project?

Who is the mandarin that has overarching responsibility, what were the significant outcomes from Mangere, Glen Innes, did you see an increase in employment, wealth etc. 

Answer (Treasury representative)

In Auckland the evidence is developing as these projects are only slightly more advanced that the Porirua Development. The broad opportunities from this project are why Ministry of Education, Porirua City and Ngati Toa are involved.

The business case was built on the broader economic and wellbeing outcomes the project could offer. These opportunities include employment, better health, better housing, better education; everything stacks up to better outcomes for people living in Eastern Porirua.

9. Regeneration is not the correct way to talk about this project - we want a transformation, a transformation of lives.

How did you arrive at $1.5 billion figure and how do you know that this is going to be enough?

Pasifika families have specific conditions to allow them to flourish and do well. It can’t be just houses; the project needs to reflect the needs of Pasifika and non-Pasifika families. 

Will the $1.5 billion be enough over 25 years?

Answer (Treasury representative)

The business case looked at a range of different options ranging from doing nothing to full blown transformation. The business case looked at the types of houses, transport connections, health, and education etc. and a best estimate was made. This does not mean that the costs can’t / will not change. The $1.5B is for housing and amenities.

10. What is the specific plan to engage the Pasifika communities and former refugees? 

Answer (HLC representative)

We will try and engage across all of the communities in eastern Porirua, these will start with four community workshops that will be followed by sessions with particular areas of the community.

11. We want assurance that you will not spend $1 billion on consultants

Answer (HLC representative)

While consultation and engagement is underway we will also be working on developing new housing, we want to listen, learn and engage.

12. Using terms like tala noa and Pasifika, need to be considered carefully so their full meaning is understood; you need to be aware that one person cannot represent the various Pasifika communities.

13. Can we sell our current house to HLC and then buy a Kiwi Build property and how will the Kiwi Build program roll out?

Answer (HLC representative)

Kiwi Build is currently under review and more information will be available. We are happy to talk to people about the range of options that might be open to them.

Comment from Rev Nove

My role is not to represent the Pacific community; my role is to work with HLC as a consultant. I have been in Waitangirua for 21 years as a church minister. I will provide HLC with advice in how to engage with Pacific people, provide a translation service and ensure that different places are used for engagement and consultation.

14. In the 60s there was a 2 year waiting list for houses and there still is now, I have been told there will be a stop to refugees and migrants being allocated HNZC houses is this true

Answer (HLC representative)

Not aware of HNZC policy to stop migrants coming to Porirua, HNZC manage vacancies in their portfolio of properties and I can’t comment on the specifics of their policies.

15. Architectural designs including being accessible to people with disabilities and design being sustainable (solar panels) is important to our community. We want to ensure that children and young people are not decanted too far away from the schools, families and community.

Answer (HLC representative)

Accessibility is a very significant part of our planning of the new housing.

HNZC does not have any policy around solar panels but do have broader objectives around waste minimization.

We have a very strong commitment to work with HNZC tenants to keep disruption to a minimum, HNZC tenancy liaison team will work with tenants who need to work on a case by case basis to ensure the best outcomes for each family.

16. Ministry of Education sees this project as transformational and a marvelous opportunity. We have started working with school principals and early childhood education centers discussing the possibilities this project offers them and their pupils.

17. Urban Maori are not mentioned on the list to be engaged with, I don’t want my whanau moved out for more than 6 months as they will lose their connections in the community

Answer (HLC representative)

Yes we will engage with urban Maori

18. Pasifika need to be on the Regeneration Board, if Pasifika get on that board you will get a big tick from us tonight.

19. Refugee and Migrants, we are all refugees and migrants are all welcome in Porirua.

You can read a record of all the questions and comments written at each table during the fono here.

The themes have been summarised in the summary document above, and responses to any unanswered questions will be provided when they're available.

Here are some frequently asked questions of HLC.