A housing development at a Christchurch marae is bringing different factions of the community together from grandparents raising mokopuna to a former female prisoner reintegrating into society.

The development is part of Ngā Hau e Whā Marae's vision of providing social support to those who need it.

Desiree Taputoro and her son are staying there.

She spent ten months in prison, a week after she has been released she was in a new house as part of her reintegrating into society

“I think it would help me settle back in with my kids. It’s a whole brand new lot of changes going on at the moment still anxious. It took a lot of stress off me cause I’ve got two other children as well it was good to know that we had somewhere to come to and didn’t have to worry where we were going to be sleeping.”

According to organiser Jeanette Campbell, this is a positive outcome work that’s come from an agreement between Corrections and the marae.

“We engage with them three to six months before release and build that relationship and get a strong reintegration plan upon release. We engage a good 12 months at least so it’s a good solid foundation. So having this house available has enabled our woman prisoners to take that time out readjusts back to society in a safe environment.”

According to Norm Dewes, it’s the fruition of years of hard work for the urban marae Ngā Hau e Whā, but the earthquakes did delay the process.

“It’s something those that originally built the marae wanted the whole reservation to be a home which provided many services for the community and this is just another step in that journey.”

Construction cost just over $3m.

That cost was shared between Te Puni Kōkiri, Housing New Zealand and the Rata Foundation.

The marae hopes to expand the number of houses and people living in the papakāinga.

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