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Deconstructed state homes get a second life in Tonga

15 Jun 2022
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Six Kāinga Ora state homes that once stood in Mangere have been carefully deconstructed, salvaged, and packed into a 40ft container bound for Tonga to help with phase two of the Islands’ infrastructure rebuild after the devastating eruption of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai. The container is filled with timber, joinery, ovens and  window frames all of which can be repurposed on the Island. 

The old state homes came from Stage 2 of the Aorere Development, and the deconstruction initiative has been led by the Piritahi Aorere project team. Aotearoa Tonga Relief Committee are co-ordinating the container directly from Aorere to the Port. Volunteers from the Mangere Tongan community have been busy  sorting through the items and preparing the containers for voyage.  

The salvaged materials are a welcome and much needed resource for the people of Tonga, explains Aotearoa Tongan Relief Committee Secretary Manase Lua. “We really need construction materials that will help Tonga rebuild homes, amenities and  infrastructure.” 

Demolition waste accounts for at least 40% of all waste sent to landfill in New Zealand. Kāinga Ora is on a mission to reduce the amount of waste we send to landfill by working with contractors, partners and social organisations like Aotearoa Tonga Relief Committee. “In developing sustainable house removal practices, we strive to achieve greater social, environment and innovative outcomes,” Aorere Assistant Development Manager Ema Latu explains. 

Kāinga Ora will continue to try and find more relocation and deconstruction opportunities in the future. “By deconstructing these old state homes and sending them over to Tonga, we reduce our carbon footprint and give materials that would otherwise be sent to landfill a second life.”


Ohai Tonga President and internationally acclaimed artist Uili Lousi, recently presented one of his geometric artworks to Kāinga Ora Regional Director of Counties Manukau, Angela Pearce, in recognition of the recycled materials donated to Tonga. This striking gift will hang in the Mangere Development office and be a fond reminder of the partnership with our Pasifika neighbours.