Ockham are re-imagining urban living by designing apartments that are conducive to living more sustainably.

Concept to construction

Construction of more than 3,000 apartments planned over the next 20 years will start in July 2023, on almost 11 hectares of land alongside Unitec in Auckland’s Pt Chevalier.

This is a response to New Zealand’s housing crisis but is also a unique mix of sustainability, a distinctly Māori-oriented design and cooperation with the local iwi, and an instructive tale of how Kiwibank’s support played a key role in making this happen.

Ockham architect smiling
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Called Toi, the first block will be a green, brick-clad, seven-storey building housing 65 units with up to three bedrooms, underpinned by commercial spaces on the ground floor. Prices will run from $530,000 to $875,000.

It’s the brainchild of Ockham, the Kiwi residential apartment developer which has become a feature of New Zealand’s building landscape. Co-founder Mark Todd says the project has a unique flavour which he predicts will see it featured in “international magazines”.

Ockham has worked closely with Hauraki iwi collective Marutūāhu and Todd says the land, returned to Marutūāhu under the Treaty of Waitangi, will become a planned, green suburb as it hosts more than 3,000 apartments in the next two decades: Maungārongo.

Sustainable innovation

It'll stand out because it'll have limited access and parking for cars, while being close to public transport hubs. Todd says: “It’s modelled on quality, compact European city centres. The roading network is very limited but the walking and cycling network through those apartments is second to none.

Residents won’t have to drive every day, because the community is designed to supply everything they need without having to get in their car."
Mark Todd, Ockham Co-founder

Sustainability is an important focus in choice of construction materials, with facades made of brick or pre-cast concrete for durability and low maintenance, plus innovative German hot water systems that output 7.5kW for every 1KW of energy input. Rainwater harvesting will be a feature of every building, along with over-spec insulation.

The cool things that matter for us are longevity and having ongoing maintenance costs as close to zero as we can."
Mark Todd, Ockham Co-founder

Maungārongo will also stand out because of its design: “When it turns up in international magazines in 10 years’ time, you'll be able to see it’s unique to New Zealand. It’s distinctly Māori in its design. It's in everything you touch and see and even smell as you walk through the buildings, street ways, lanes and plantings. It's a very detailed design response in sync with Māori design frameworks.”

Purpose alignment

But, says Todd, without Kiwibank, Maungārongo would not exist and – more to the point – neither would Ockham.

In 2009 Todd, a builder and developer, and Benjamin Preston, who was exiting a high flying merchant banking career, approached Kiwibank for additional finance.

The world was just coming out of the global financial crisis and no one else was lending to such companies, Todd says. Kiwibank did and, using that first Kiwibank investment and teaming up with architect Tania Wong 13 years ago, Ockham has grown to the point it has now finished more than 14 apartment blocks, large and small.

Over the past two years, Ockham has returned to its roots by involving Kiwibank again in three of their projects “but without Kiwibank being in the market back then, we literally could not have started off on residential,” says Todd.

From those first apartments back in 2009, the company grew from a medium-sized business to a leading New Zealand vertically-integrated business able to deliver major projects like the 40 buildings and 3,000 apartments about to get under way in Point Chevalier – all in a sustainable way.

We have aspirational values as a company. We want to build better communities. We want to build sustainable buildings and to prove that you can do great buildings and still make the profits that you have to make in order to attract the finance and equity that you need."
Mark Todd, Ockham Co-founder

Kiwibank Head of Sustainable Finance Tom Williams says Ockham’s values align strongly with those of the bank: “With Ockham we have really good purpose alignment.”

“Our purpose is Kiwi making Kiwi better off. When you look at how Ockham is building housing for the future and its focus on sustainability, being really liveable, it’s high focus on mobility so it’s residents are able to get around really easily.

“That aligns exactly with what we're trying to do through sustainable finance. We’re focusing on longer term thinking in our lending decisions.”

Working with Ockham also supports Kiwibank’s goal to deliver $2b in sustainable finance by 2030, to support Kiwi businesses to be more sustainable.

“How we price our lending is always bespoke to our customers, and it varies between developer and project. What I can say is Ockham's pricing reflects their focus on sustainability. ”

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