Vera Wipani (Ngati Kahu, Ngati Paoa) is originally from Taipa in the Far North, but as a young girl she would come and spend school holidays with her grandmother who lived in Viscount Street in Mangere. “It was ‘town’ to us but was so much smaller then,” she recalls. “We’d walk down the road to the pools and play in the parks and town centre. A lot of our extended whānau (family) lived here – and still do.”
Vera has come full circle and now works at the Mangere Development Information Centre, keeping people informed on the development and assisting with their homeownership journey. She has a big grin when she says, “I absolutely love my job. It’s all about the people and we do get some amazing success stories.”
“Over lockdown I got a message from a young woman in the area who we had been working with, telling us she’d been successful in buying a KiwiBuild apartment. It was awesome – the first time for me that I’d worked with someone all the way through the process, from first meeting at the info centre, to connecting with the build partner and helping with sorting out her funds. She’s so happy!”
“And you know, some people here might be the first in their family to own their own home. A lot of people think it’s out of their reach because of that. It can be hard for sure, but I just say, ‘Keep going and you’ll get there’. Many don’t realise they have enough funds to get a loan but when they come and talk to us, we can help them figure all that out. You might find you have more options than you thought.”
“Mangere holds so many great memories for me. My big sister still lives here – she climbs our beautiful maunga most mornings. And my kids think the Mangere Markets have the best dumplings!”
The Mangere community today is vibrant with multiculturalism, she says. “You’re thrust into so many different cultures and ways of doing things, but you learn a lot about people, which I think is fantastic. And it’s the gateway to the city, with the international airport in our backyard.”
“I would encourage more people to come and have a chat with us. There are more homes coming in the Aorere and Mangere West neighbourhoods later this year and over the next 15 years we’ll be adding around 10,000 more. So many more people will have the opportunity – and time, if necessary – to get everything sorted so that you too can have your own home in this beautiful place.”
You can read more about what is happening in Mangere in the latest issue of Home Base here.
To meet with Vera, or to find out more about the Mangere Development, make a booking online to pop into the Information Centre at 12 Waddon Place, Mangere. The team are there Wednesday to Saturday from 10am to 4pm and would love to chat with you! Alternatively, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 09 952 8585.