“Before anyone moves in, we perform karakia and walk through the homes touching the walls and sprinkling water. This is done to cleanse the home and implant mauri (spiritual energy) into the whare (house).”

Morehu recently blessed two new quality homes built by the Iconiq Trade Academy. The two new homes have been built to full universal design standards so they can be easily adapted for people with accessibility challenges. The homes have been placed at the back of existing Kāinga Ora homes that had large sections. This makes the best use of our limited land that is close to schools, shops and services.

Kaikarakia Morehu opening the door of the new home he is about to bless.

Morehu was joined by the whānau who are moving into homes and pakeke (elders) from the local Rongowhakaata iwi. “Having our nannies and papas along helps us to make sure we are doing the right thing and keep us safe.”

One of the people moving into the new Gisborne homes said “I really wanted to be at the blessing as it is part of my culture and important to make the home feel safe before my whānau move in.”

He has been living in a severely overcrowded home. At times there can be 15 people staying in the 3-bedroom home. He is moving close by with his partner and his niece. “It is good Kāinga Ora is blessing these homes,” he said. “We wouldn’t move into a new home before it was blessed and we knew we were protected.”

Morehu’s grandfather was also a kaikarakia. His extensive whānau connections in Tairāwhiti has helped him to connect with many of the people who move into the new homes.

When we can connect through our tipuna (ancestors) this has a huge effect on how the whānau feel as the whare is blessed, says Morehu.

“Karakia or blessings are like markers to indicate a move into another stage of your life. It is one of the steps towards overall wellbeing that a warm, dry secure home contributes to whānau.

The Iconiq Trade Academy is based at Gisborne airport where they build homes before they are transported to site and connected to services. Kāinga Ora is contracted to purchase 10 of these offsite manufactured homes from Iconiq this financial year.

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Page updated: 14 March 2024