The government is set to talk housing this Waitangi Weekend, but a Māori architecture firm Toa Architects says they have a prototype that will blow any housing programme out of the water.

They say their homes are affordable, have shorter build times, will create jobs, and will use NZ made materials.

Nick Dalton is an architect trying to provide an answer to the age old question: how to build quality houses at low cost?

“Three major problems with housing in New Zealand is the cost of land, a shortage of skilled labour, and the quality of design. This design seeks to tackle those three things.”

Dalton is the Director of Toa Architects, established in 2010, and he believes the country could benefit hugely from his housing plan, MMH.

“MMH: Māori Modular House is a concept we’ve been thinking about for a very long time. So the main thing is having built, mainly components made in a factory and then it is assembled by trained assemblers on-site. So they don’t have to have five builders in a house for six months. The idea is the house is completely finished on-site, within a month.”

Dalton says MMH also has the potential to deal with other social issues like unemployment and economic growth.

“As much as we can, we can’t be all NZ sourced products, particularly timber. A big kaupapa for Toa is to commit to rejuvenating our timber production here in Aotearoa. The idea to make a thousand of these homes – that’s $300 million worth of value into the Aotearoa market.”

Three sites have been engaged to build prototypes with the MMH system.

Toa Architects estimate that prices for resources and labour could start as low as $250,000, however, the proof will be in the pudding once they have been able to complete an initial build testing out their MMH system.