During the occupation1 of Ioela Niki Rauti’s state house, weekly waiata2 nights were held to foster whanaungatanga.3 The collective voices could be heard along Taniwha Street on a Thursday evening, travelling easily because of the empty spaces. The redevelopment is physically dismantling Glen Innes, through the removal of houses by truck or demolition (in this video, 69 Taniwha Street). But in their place stands a different form of community – one that is growing ever stronger. On the day of filming (23/03/17), Niki had again been under a direct threat of eviction. She closed Waiata Club with this:
“This has been the hardest day of these last six years. But we’re still here. And we’re still singing.”
Still from Te Aroha (2017). HD video, 4m 45s.
Ngā mihi Tāmaki Housing Group & Waiata Club.
(2) song, singing
(3) kinship, a relationship of shared experiences through working together that creates a sense of belonging
Glen Innes is undergoing gentrification through the privatisation and sell off of the area’s state housing. Tāmaki Housing Group was formed to resist the evictions of tenants, and the occupation of Niki’s house was part of this resistance. Niki was forced to move out of her home of 30 years in October 2017, and the house was demolished days later. Waiata Club continues.