Owner Martin Yakas of Ngāti Rehia started his Kerikeri-based business with just one other employee, working for Northland iwi to repair houses to be weather tight. He’s now grown his team to 12, including two wahine.

“Lots of these whare weren’t dry or warm, and they leaked. I’ve built the business up gradually and after getting our first shot at a new build in Kerikeri, we started getting noticed for our quality and delivery on time,” says Martin.

Martin says he’s driven by getting whānau into warm, dry homes in the North where he grew up, especially because the region has an affordable housing shortage.

“Being awarded the contract with Kāinga Ora was pretty surreal. I’ve invested a lot of time in the process, so it was emotional finding out we won it. For me it’s about seeing whānau going into these houses and not living in tin sheds. Every time I see a family going into a new home I feel better,” he says.

Yakas Elijah, one of the rangatahi working for Yakas

The new homes will meets 6 Homestar and Healthy Homes standards, and are planned to be ready for customers by the end of 2022.

Yakas Construction went through Te Puni Kōkiri’s Progressive Procurement capability uplift programme where he was mentored by Māori business Height Project Management Limited and was also supported by Aotearoa’s Supplier Diversity intermediary.

Kāinga Ora General Manager Construction and Innovation Patrick Dougherty says enabling opportunities to engage with Māori and Pasifika businesses supports the strategic outcomes of Kāinga Ora.

“Yakas Construction was successful as they put together a competitive proposal, are locally based and are respected builders with strong links to the local community. We also recognised the benefits of working with Martin because he offers significant job opportunities for local rangatahi, and this has a knock-on effect to the Northland economy,” Patrick says. “Kāinga Ora is already busy with close to 150 homes, in various stages of feasibility, procurement and construction to be built in Northland, with more to follow.”

Progressive Procurement aims to use the Government’s annual $51.5 billion buying power to accelerate Māori businesses and provide wider social outcomes in communities.

Yakas Construction Team with owner Martin Yakas third from right.

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Page updated: 18 November 2021