Kāinga Ora brings together the people, capabilities and resources of the KiwiBuild Unit, Housing New Zealand and its development subsidiary HLC. This is designed to enable a more cohesive, joined-up approach to delivering the Government’s priorities for housing and urban development in New Zealand. These priorities include addressing homelessness and making homes more affordable for New Zealanders.

Kāinga Ora has two key roles:

  • being a world-class public housing landlord
  • partnering with the development community, Māori, local and central government, and others on urban development projects of all sizes.

The gift of our name

Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities is a special name and it’s significant because of the mahi (work) we are setting ourselves up to do, working in partnership with Māori.

Minister for Housing, Phil Twyford selected ‘Homes and Communities’ because it reflects the organisation’s scope and purpose of building homes and fostering communities.

Minister for Māori Development and Associate Minister for Māori Housing, Nanaia Mahuta was then asked to come up with the Māori component of our name. In Te Ao Māori (the Māori world view), naming is really important. Minister Mahuta wanted to give us something that was aspirational to describe the work we will do.

“It's not just about houses, physical structures, it's about people, it's about their community, their sense of place, the well-being of the environment,” said the Minister.

‘Kāinga’ is about a home, rather than a whare (house).

‘Kāinga Ora’ is about well-being.

Kāinga Ora means: wellbeing through places and communities.

To understand more about how we got our name and the meaning behind it,  Te Ariki Pihama – Te Ringa Raupa - Chief Advisor Māori at Kāinga Ora popped in to have a kōrero with Minister Nanaia Mahuta at Parliament.

Watch the video(external link) or download Kāinga Ora - how to say our name [PDF, 64 KB].

World-class public housing landlord

Kāinga Ora provides tenancy services to about 187,000 public housing tenants and maintains and develops around 65,000 public houses while also providing home ownership products and other services. We are focusing on prioritising our tenants’ wellbeing, and provide tenants with good quality, warm, dry and healthy homes.

Urban development

Kāinga Ora is also focused on delivering quality urban developments that connect homes with jobs, transport, open spaces and the facilities that communities need. This includes accelerating the availability of build-ready land, and building a mix of housing including public housing, affordable housing, homes for first home buyers and market housing of different types, sizes and tenures.

We are delivering 1,100 net additional homes each year for the next four years and our build programme accounts for 7 per cent of New Zealand’s residential builds. Our assets are worth $26.8 billion.

A complementary Bill was introduced late in 2019 to help Kāinga Ora lead or facilitate certain urban development projects – called specified development projects – using coordinated development powers to speed up delivery. Kāinga Ora will be responsible for this process and the use of the associated powers, allowing others to access them through a range of different partnership approaches.


Kāinga Ora can not do all this alone. We are partnering with others, including councils, government agencies, local government, Māori and mana whenua, infrastructure providers, private developers, and community housing providers. We will enable and complement, rather than compete with, the private market.

Partnering with Māori

One of our key functions is to understand, support and enable Māori aspirations for urban development. This means operating in a way that provides for early and meaningful engagement with Māori when doing urban development, understanding Maori perspectives and the active pursuit of opportunities for Māori to participate in urban development.

Our place in the public housing system

Kāinga Ora and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development have complementary roles in housing and urban development. The Ministry is responsible for leadership in the housing and urban development system, policy, monitoring and advising the Government on strategic direction.

We also work closely with the Ministry of Social Development, which is responsible for working with people who need housing, income and employment support and helping people access and sustain long-term accommodation, and help meet the cost of short-term, emergency accommodation.


Page updated: 4 February 2020