News | 17 March 2017

Kilbirnie's Kotuku Apartment residents celebrate upgraded homes

Residents at Kotuku Apartments are now enjoying warmer, drier, and healthier homes thanks to the Council’s Housing Upgrade Programme says Wellington Mayor Justin Lester.

Mayor Justin Lester helps cut the celebratory cake, created in the shape of Kotuku Apartments.
From left: Vicki McLaren, former City Housing Manager; Deputy Mayor, Paul Eagle; Hon Annette King, MP for Rongotai electorate; Rob Jamieson, tenant; Mayor Justin Lester

The Mayor officially opened the upgraded apartments today, which are home to 114 residents.

“As well as upgrading bathrooms, kitchens, and adding insulation and ventilation, we took the opportunity to convert some of the studio flats into larger units, accommodating more families.

“And by changing vehicle access and parking so there’s no longer traffic coming through the complex, we’ve created more quality outdoor space for people to enjoy.”

Council housing portfolio lead and Deputy Mayor Paul Eagle says building a strong sense of community where people feel connected to each other is an important part of our focus on building resilient communities and a resilient Wellington.

“That’s why we’ve focused on not only upgrading the units, but on providing a larger community room for people to come together in, and increasing other shared spaces such as the community vegetable gardens and barbeque area.”

The Kotuku upgrade is part of the 20-year, $400 million Deed of Grant with the Crown to upgrade council housing. It was signed in 2008.

“We’re totally committed to providing affordable rental housing for those Wellingtonians most in need. The partnership has allowed us to set the benchmark and ensure the housing units we’re responsible for are in top notch condition for our tenants.”

Cr Eagle says he’s thankful the council made the decision to retain its social housing across the city and upgrade it.

“Council made a bold decision is the 60s to build Kotuku in an area of the city where it’s now out of reach for many to rent let alone own their own home.

“By making the decision to keep and upgrade Kotuku, we also made the decision to support our tenants by helping them in their day to day lives.

“From providing space for children to play together outside, lessons for adults learning how to cook, or budgeting tips in the community room – that’s all part of being a social housing provider.”

It’s that building of community that makes it a home, Rob Jamieson, a new tenant to Kotuku observes: “We’re forging ahead in developing a strong community here at Kotuku and this is reflected in the number of ethnic groups here such as Chinese, Cambodians, Sudanese, Somalis, Iraqi Assyrian, Indians, Maori, Pakeha, peoples from the Pacific Islands and others. It makes me proud as a Kiwi that we are able to provide a safe refuge here in our country for people fleeing the world’s trouble spots and finding their home here.”