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Te Whaiti Housing Settlement

Reinventing housing to improve the health of rural Māori

Toitū te Kainga, Toitū te Ora, Toitū te Tangata (Sustainable Homes, Healthy People)

Client: Toi Ohimai Institute of Technology
Brief:Design a healthy home for rural Māori


Tallwood has been commissioned to provide the masterplan and housing designs for a papakāinga at Te Whaiti in eastern Bay of Plenty which we hope will become the prototype for affordable, healthy and sustainable housing for regional Maori communities nationwide.

This is a research-based project being funded by the National Science Challenge. Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology will run the project. Tallwood is working alongside Scion – the NZ Forest Research Institute – now to analyse the thermal performance of the design. We’ve created a digital twin of the house design which allows us to test the impact of the environment and optimise our design based on the results. We’re aiming for as close as we can to cost-effectively get to ‘passive house’ status – where the house is airtight so that the internal environment is easily controlled. In the relatively temperate Te Whaiti, a remote settlement an hour south or Rotorua, humidity and damp is of greater concern to us and the scientists than extreme cold or heat.

Our digital modelling also allows us to really push the design to bring down the lifetime energy and maintenance costs of the houses. This, of course, makes them more environmentally and socially sustainable.

The Te Matekuare Whanau Trust which owns the land at Te Whaiti is in the process of becoming established as a community housing provider. Once construction of the housing development gets underway we hope it is the catalyst for economic development in the area by providing more jobs locally.

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