On the 15 January 2022 an eruption began in the undersea volcano of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai, culminating in a tsunami that devastated several small outlier islands and the Western coastline of the main island of the Kingdom of Tonga. Kāinga Ora, in partnership with Piritahi Aorere Project team, have deconstructed 6 old state homes in Mangere to aid in Tonga’s rebuild.

Six Kāinga Ora state homes that once stood in Mangere have been carefully deconstructed, salvaged and packed into a 40ft container bound for Tonga to help with phase 2 of the Islands’ infrastructure rebuild.

The houses came from Stage 2 of the Aorere development and the Kāinga Ora deconstruction initiative has been led by the Piritahi Aorere project team.

Aotearoa Tonga Relief Committee are co-ordinating the containers for delivery this month from their temporary Onehunga site.

The container is filled with timber, joinery, ovens and window frames all of which can be repurposed on the Island.

Volunteers from the Mangere Tongan community have been busy sorting through the items and preparing the containers for voyage.

The salvaged materials are a welcome and much needed resource for the people of Tonga, explains Aotearoa Tongan Relief Committee Secretary Manase Lua.

“We really needed construction materials that would help Tonga rebuild homes, amenities and infrastructure”

Melino Maka (Aotearoa Tonga Relief Committee) with Harjot Singh (Graduate Site Engineer, Piritahi) at the Aorere Site Office, meeting to discuss salvaged materials

Aotearoa Tongan Relief Committee is made up of community leaders and volunteers that heavily rely on donations from organisations and the local community.

“The materials we’ve received from Kāinga Ora will be of great help to the people of Tonga as they try to rebuild their homes,” says Lua.

When the container arrives in Tonga, local NGO Ohai Tonga, will distribute the salvaged materials out to the community.

Ohai Tonga President Uili Lousi, has plans to repurpose some materials to contribute to Ohai’s existing sustainability projects on the Island.

“There is a limited number of bees to pollinate crops in Tonga which creates a food security risk for root crops that serve as staples in our diet”

“We will use some materials to build more beehives and raised garden beds so our people can continue to grow their own food and live sustainably,” he says.

Aotearoa Tongan Relief Committee has been at the forefront of the Island nation’s aid. During the first phase of the volcanic crisis the committee sent thousands of food parcels, bottled water and medical supplies to the Island Kingdom of Tonga.

Demolition waste accounts for at least 40% of all waste sent to landfill in New Zealand.

Kāinga Ora is on a mission to reduce the amount of waste we send to landfill by working with contractors, partners and social organisations like Aotearoa Tonga Relief Committee.

“To develop and further maintain sustainable practices in the disposal of state homes; we look to achieve greater social, environmental and innovative outcomes,” Kāinga Ora Assistant Development Manager Ema Latu explains.

By shifting away from demolition where possible Kāinga Ora seek to find more relocation and deconstruction opportunities in future.

“By deconstructing these old state homes and sending them over to Tonga, we reduce our carbon footprint and give materials that would otherwise be sent to landfill a second life.”

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Page updated: 17 May 2022