Hapū geothermal heating project cuts power bills for Rotorua homes

A small-scale geothermal energy project that received government funding is now up and running, and providing more affordable heating to 15 new whare, Minister of Housing and Energy and Resources Hon Dr Megan Woods says.

“Using ground-source heat pumps, residents together will save around $20,000 per year on energy costs, encouraging households to use more heating in winter for improved wellbeing of whānau,” Megan Woods said.

“This is a fantastic example of innovation using the Māori and Public Housing renewable energy fund, which was set up to trial sustainable energy options for whānau.”

The new homes also received $4.8 million from the Government’s Whai Kāinga Whai Oranga programme to support the Ngāti Uenukukōpako Iwi Trust to build the homes.

“These houses mark the beginning of Ngāti Uenukukōpako’s response to a survey of its beneficiaries that identified housing need as the single most important issue facing hapū members.”

“Ensuring all whānau have safe, warm, healthy affordable homes with secure tenure, across the Māori housing continuum is an absolute priority for this Government. It is for this reason the Labour Government made the largest investment ever into Māori housing of over $1 billion since 2018.,"Megan Woods says.

Associate Minister of Housing (Māori Housing) Willie Jackson says this funding will maintain momentum created through locally led housing solutions.

“Our people face constant housing challenges. While housing remains a challenge for many communities in Aotearoa New Zealand, it is particularly so for whānau Māori. It has been this way for far too long.”

“We are starting to see green shoots of the Whai Kāinga Whai Oranga investment, with whānau who have experienced severe housing deprivation and urgent housing need moving into safe, warm and dry homes,” Willie Jackson said.

Editors notes:

Ngāti Uenukukōpako Iwi Trust is one of 42 small-scale projects around the country to benefit from the fund, which is one-half of the government’s $28 million Māori and Public Housing Renewable Energy Fund. In addition, $46 million has been allocated to the Community Renewable Energy Fund, as part of the Government’s wider efforts to further support community energy projects.