“Mate Kāinga Tahi: Ora Kāinga Rua. Being ready for when your home changes.”
Ka mate Kāinga Tahi: Ka ora Kāinga literally translates as “when one dwelling place declines, a second one will emerge to take its place.” This whakatauki was used by Tamamutu of Ngāti Tūwharetoa about 200 years ago to describe the iwi’s ability to survive.1
Today, kāinga refers to being prepared for when your living circumstances change including changes in renting arrangements.
The Service Innovation Lab (the Lab), the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and Housing New Zealand recently undertook some discovery work considering renting a property as a life event. This is the first life event where the Lab has applied wellbeing frameworks to inform development of potential government services.
Wellbeing frameworks have identified a need to include the Māori cultural elements. In this context, the team explored the cultural concept of kāinga, or home, and its potential to inform the project.
We looked at what it means to be in a kāinga in today’s environment, how to identify and enhance kāinga and understanding how it is a part of the Māori psyche. Historically, the concept of kāinga is part of matauranga Māori but it has evolved over the generations to meet the new needs of Maori communities.
There are many interpretations among Māoridom of what kāinga represents. Kāinga is coupled with responsibilities – there is a clear imperative to keep the fire burning, requiring fuel and attention to allow it to burn bright.
In a contemporary context, kāinga now includes the concept for living at a place while maintaining your identity. It represents the connection to the physical, mental and spiritual environment in which you and your whānau live. It's about people's rights, roles and responsibilities associated with the home environment: “I have the right to occupy this land and to be in this house, I have a right to feel this is my place - a home for me and my whānau.”
The visual presented below describes kāinga in a traditional sense and how that intersects with both owning and renting a residence. Kāinga has transformed as many whānau have moved from rural to urban settings, so kāinga for many now would be a 2-3 bedroom home on an urban section.
However, kāinga is also a holistic concept of whānau members providing shelter, warmth and an opportunity to nurture potential.
It is my aspiration the blog, visual and video explaining kāinga helps Māori, Government agencies and all New Zealanders gain a better understanding of how Māori view their kāinga.
The full report of the discovery will be released in the near future. If you'd like to stay across our work, please join our mailing list.
Infographic content created by Kim Quirke.