Rethinking the Bay’s housing
If you’re interested in tiny homes, affordable housing, simple living, building community or just hanging out with cool people, then set aside Thursday, June 22, from 7pm.
Along with four inspiring and creative short films about alternative living, a panel of guest speakers will discuss what’s happening in the Bay with regard to tiny house living.
Event organiser Andrew Martin says this second Katikati film night – following on from the successful inaugural event at St Paul’s Church in April which drew more than 140 locals – will be an evening likely to spark even more interest and discussion.
Guest panellist Melissa Cox, originally from the USA, was badly burned by the global financial crisis when the housing market tanked in 2008.
Melissa has been canvasing the Western Bay of Plenty District Council and the Tauranga City Council in the hope of creating a tiny house village.
Earlier in the year an event she organised in Mount Manganui drew more than 300 attendees, a clear sign that people in the Bay are looking for alternatives to conventional housing options.
“With soaring house prices and stagnant real wages there has never been a more opportune time to embrace the concept of tiny homes and living more simply. I don’t know of anyone who isn’t for having less debt and working less,” says Melissa.
Fellow panellist, Tessa Mackenzie, who has recently moved to Katikati, is a shipping container home conversionist, who has an active interest in social and environmental change. She will also be speaking about the tiny house movement as a whole, including multi tiny dwellings on shared land.
She has also been working toward a vision for a tiny house community and believes the movement “is shaping a new paradigm of being less debt-poor and more time-rich”.
“The spin-offs from this approach have potentially huge benefits economically, socially and environmentally. The demand is being largely driven by a generation of 25–35-year-old, emotionally-intelligent, economically and environmentally-savvy individuals who have no other viable alternative. They create more time and money for recreation, relationships and community engagement,” says Tessa.
“Efforts are being made to engage with council – from the mayor, to councillors, to council staff and through the Smartgrowth Housing Affordability Forum. Currently the onus is on those wanting to live legally in tiny homes to invest time and money into projects that have uncertain outcomes.
“Collaboration is needed by the movers and shakers of the tiny house movement, with council, to ensure the Long Term Plan reflects this.”
Andrew, who works with councils and other organisations throughout New Zealand and Australia helping build resilience, says housing affordability is one of the big issues facing most regions.
“While there is a lot of talk about affordable housing, I haven’t seen much concrete action in this space when it comes to councils supporting projects. I think it is a function of being a relatively ‘new’ concept for councils and they just don’t know how to deal with it. Primarily it comes down to land zoning and council consents, which fundamentally don’t support tiny, affordable and sustainable housing alternatives.”
Rounding out the panel will be Leo Murray, a sustainability consultant and permaculture designer based in Te Puna.
An active change-maker born and bred in the Bay of Plenty, Leo plays an active part in nurturing a sustainable culture in his homeland. Leo will talk about his experiences and learnings from his project and share his story and insights into making his idea of a tiny home a reality.
’Be the Change Film Nights’ will be a regular event in Katikati and surrounds, with the aim of showing inspiring films that promote discussion and activity towards making our communities more resilient.
The movie night will be held at St Paul’s Presbyterian Church, Katikati on June 22 from 7pm. Tickets $5 per person.