Māori & Housing

Affordable Homes for Generations | Kāinga Tahi Kāinga Rua, 2020-2024

This programme of research, co-led by Dr Kay Saville-Smith and Dr Fiona Cram, recognises New Zealand’s severe undersupply of functional, affordable housing and the consequent problems of homelessness and exclusion, the drag imposed on communities and local economies, and the environmental and resilience risks presented by the persistent undersupply of affordable housing.

Homes Built for Real Lives, Great Futures, 2016-2019

This project is being led by Dr Kay Saville-Smith, CRESA, with the multidisciplinary research team. Read more about the project here. The funding for the research programme comes from the government’s Science Challenge: Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities. The vision of the Challenge is Ka ora kāinga rua: Built environments that build communities.A Māori case study within this project focuses on two main questions:


Saville-Smith, K. (2019) (Ed.). Revitalising the production of affordable housing for productive, engaging and healthy lives: Integrated report. Wellington: Research Report for the Building Better Homes Towns and Cities National Science Challenge: Revitalising the Production of Affordable Housing for Productive, Engaged and Healthy Lives.

Getting Decisions for Homes and Cities that Work, 2016-2019

This research recognises that there is no 'silver bullet' that will 'fix' the current housing crisis. Rather, this research programmes asks after the logic of decision making so that those wanting homes and those making decisions about housing can find some middle ground to support better homes, towns and cities. Find out about this research here.

A Māori case study within this research programme is following an Iwi (tribe) on their journey to support the housing aspirations of their hapū (sub-tribes), whānau (families) and people. This will be available in 2021.

Life When Renting - Enabling Older People's Independence, 2016-2019

This four year programme of research led by Dr Kay Saville-Smith enquires after the responsiveness of the rental housing market for older people. Read more about the project here.Over 40 people (55+ years old) who are renting their housing in Hawke's Bay have been interviewed about their experiences as renters and what their expectations are of growing older in rental accommodation. Findings from this research are being submitted for publication in 2019-2020.


Cram, F. & Munroe, M. (2020). Life when renting for older Māori. AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples.

Finding the Best Fit: Downsizing and Older People in a Changing Society, 2014-16

The project was led by Kay Saville-Smith, CRESA, with the research team including Dr Bev James, Professor Larry Murphy, Dr Michael Rehm, and Dr Fiona Cram.In September 2013 we received news of the success of our public-good science fund research application, Finding the Best Fit: Housing, Downsizing and Older People in a Changing Society.

This research was about the practicalities of ‘downsizing’ housing and older people’s functional and financial independence and wellbeing. It was about the decisions older people make about their housing for retirement, and the things that influence these decisions. They may choose to downsize, stay in their current home, move to another location, move home, or move closer to their marae – or perhaps some combination of these and other options. Their decisions might depend on whānau commitments, access to health care, marae and hapū connections and responsibilities, financial circumstances, and other considerations. These are the things this research project explored.


Older Māori: Downsizing Experiences, outcomes and needs

The present case study looked at the decision-making of older Māori about their current and future retirement accommodation. Their advice to others making similar decisions best sums up the conclusion that can be drawn from this case study: that older Māori should consider downsizing and de-cluttering but not isolate or overcommit themselves. Most importantly older Māori should seek out whānau support and find a community that is compatible with their own values and preferred way of living. If this is not possible, then pragmatism is useful and people should make the best of the situation they find themselves in.