The blessing was attended by iwi representatives, building contractors, local residents, police, corrections and Maanaki Tairāwhiti. Gisborne Mayor Rehette Stoltz thanked everyone for the massive community effort to get to this stage. “We are not only creating homes; we are creating a lot of employment. Our young ones are coming through and we are giving them apprenticeships, and giving them hope. We will see a new generation of kids growing up in warm homes. I am excited for when we turn those keys on new homes here in Manuka Street and whānau move in to start living the life they deserve.”

Rousie Sadlier has lived in Manuka Street for 47 years. She attended the blessing with her moko Te Oho Mauri Bollingford. “I came to the first hui about building these homes and it is good to see progress is being made.”

“There’s a lot of families out there who need somewhere to live. This is for the whānau; for the children. I moved into Manuka Street when my oldest Claude was 2 months old. There was a real community feel with the older people in the street taking me under their wing and looking out for me. I hope when whanau move into this new housing development that sense of community will grow.”

Construction of new public homes in Gisborne is gaining pace says Mrs Whitewood.  “Another 24 new public homes will be completed in the next couple of months. They have been built on sites across Gisborne.  This is great news for whānau who have been living in unsuitable or emergency accommodation. While we still have many whānau needing their own home, we are absolutely committed to addressing this through our public housing build programme. All tamariki in Tairāwhiti should have a warm, safe place to lay their head at night.”

Seven of the nine homes were blessed in London Street this week and people will now start moving into the one and two-bedroom modern homes.

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Page updated: 12 May 2022