Here come the houses - update
Town centre (behind Flaxmere Community Centre)
With the town centre project almost completed, planning is underway for a community opening and celebration of the three streets named for noted Flaxmere residents who have passed: Pam O’Keefe Avenue (for Pam O’Keefe), Te Ara Huata (for Tama Huata) and Te Ara Moeke (for Haami Moeke).
“Mother of Flaxmere” Pam O’Keefe had so much aroha to share. She and husband Henare fostered more than 200 children alongside raising their own four. Her commitment to her community saw her spend countless hours at Te Aranga Marae, at the community gardens, and travelling the streets with Tunu Tunu, the community barbecue she and Henare used, to bring people together.
Tama Huata, the man behind the Kahurangi Māori Dance Theatre, was a trailblazer for Māori arts and culture. The theatre continues to be a world-class vehicle that shares our traditional culture around the world. His intense passion also saw him establish both the trust that would become Te Wānanga Whare Tapere o Takitimu, and the Taikura Kaumatua programme while chair of Te Matatini. He was instrumental in the development of Ngā Pou o Heretanga in Civic Square in Hastings, led the team that brought Te Matatini to Hastings in 2017, and founded the National Waiata Māori Music Awards.
Haami Moeke was a master carver, teacher, role model and “go-to man” for many marae – often volunteering his exceptional carving skills. Among his very many renowned projects locally are the carvings at Te Aranga Marae, EIT, and Napier’s Pukemokimoki.
At this stage it looks like the opening will be held in late November.
Gum tree (behind Flaxmere College)
The site behind Flaxmere College is still about three months from being finished. Pipes for stormwater and sewage have been installed, drinking water pipes are about 80 per cent complete and work on the roads and footpaths is underway.
The site off Flaxmere Avenue is almost ready for homes, with just the development agreements with the building partners to be completed.
All three sites will be landscaped, however apart from the grassed reserve areas in Whakaruru Cres and the gum tree block, it will not be carried out until after the houses have been built. Council’s parks team says by waiting until after the homes are in place to put the street trees in will mean they are less likely to be damaged by construction vehicles.
Flaxmere carver Pitiera Frank Wainohu has been contracted by Hastings District Council to carve six pou that will be installed at two of the new subdivision: three pou will be located at Whakaruru Cres and three on the ‘gum tree’ block, behind Flaxmere College. Initially it was hoped the pou could be carved from the felled gum trees however the wood was not suitable for carving and was donated to Te Aranga Marae for firewood for the community. Alternative timber has been sourced. The pou will be installed on the sites when the first of the new homeowners move in.
The last details of the agreements between Hastings District Council and two housing development companies (Veros and New Zealand Housing Foundation) are being finalised, with home building expected to start in early 2024. The homes will range in size from one to four bedrooms, to ensure they are suitable for a range of family sizes.
Both companies have committed to provide pathways to home ownership for first home buyers, via ‘rent to own’, ‘share ownership’ and ‘affordable home’ programmes. Buyers of the homes must be first home purchasers, be able to meet financial minimums, and commit to staying in their home for at least five years. That five-year commitment is to ensure the properties cannot be bought by landlords or property speculators.
There will be some homes available as affordable rentals – with numbers yet to be determined.
First home buyers can register their interest in buying one of the homes on the Hastings District Council website. The home building companies will get in touch with potential buyers as the building work gets closer. Council is quite clear: None of the homes have yet been sold and they are only available to first home buyers.
Council is asking people to stay out of the new subdivisions, as contractors are still continuing works on the sites, particularly on the blocks behind the Flaxmere Community Centre and Flaxmere College. Contract manager, Sophie Elliott says while it might seem like they are completed there will still be diggers, trucks and concrete mixers on the sites periodically as the installation of electrical infrastructure and landscaping work are carried out. “We need to keep everyone safe, so please stay off the sites and talk to your children about the danger.”