Rental prices in Northland are hitting whānau with some claiming they can't afford the rising costs.

And in the Northland settlement of Kaeo, a Māori social service provider has purchased a former campground facility to help those whānau in need.

Te Nohoanga is a 14 unit emergency complex, owned and operated by mandated iwi authority, Te Rūnanga o Whangaroa.

One of the current occupants, Andrea Brown, shares nine children with her partner in one of the emergency housing unit.

“There’s quite a few of us that stay here. It's been awesome since we've been here. It's better than sleeping in a car. It's been awesome here.”

Before arriving, both Brown and her partner were sleeping in their van while all their children lived in a one bedroom unit.

“I would put all of our kids into my mum's house and we were living at the bottom of her driveway in the vehicle while she had all of the children in her house.”

Te Nohoanga manager Wendy Epiha says some whānau who end up here are in despair.

“The kaupapa here is that we actually help them to become registered with the Housing New Zealand register, and where possible actually help them to look for places to rent. But they're in the line with a hundred other people and so what may only look like 12 weeks or three months could end up possibly end up being 36 weeks.”

Whānau stay at the emergency housing for up to three months until permanent accommodation is found.

In between that time, Epiha says they try their best to help provide whānau with tools to better their living situation.

“Rental accommodation right now in Kaeo is quite limited which means they either go north or they go into Kerikeri or Kaikohe. Market rents in Kerikeri are very high so they're competing with people who have jobs, they're competing with families who have been on the list for a long time and in some circumstances, landlords don't want to rent to people who have been in emergency accommodation.”

Another former Te Nohoanga resident Rongo Heihei Palmer says she's now back on her feet in permanent rental accommodation.

“So when we moved out of here, we were like lost as we were used to our community living here. We were a little bit lonely. But now we love it. We love being on our own two feet. We're still financially struggling I have to say. But we do pay our rent. You know, we've got all our bills covered. We just know we have to increase our income.

Te Nohoanga is Te Rūnanga o Whangaroa's second emergency housing complex.