In our homes

We have committed to building at least 15% of new state homes to our full universal design standards. We are also focussed on providing modifications to our older homes where needed.   

Universal design delivers public housing that is more liveable for the entire population, including (but not limited to) young and growing families, people of all ages who experience temporary injury or illness, those with mobility, visual or cognitive impairments, and the growing aging population. 

Universal design covers the following broad areas:

  • Access: wide paths from car-parking area and street, step-free where possible, or the ability to install a ramp in future.
  • Usability: easy to use door and cabinetry handles, bathroom and bedroom on the same entry level as the main living area (or be adaptable to include these two features at a later stage.
  • Safety: slip-resistant flooring in bathrooms and kitchens.
  • Adaptability: bathroom size suitable for conversion to be fully accessible if needed in the future (so that if we need to we can refrofit) by the way retrofit is for entire programme.

For our customers

We are improving the accessibility of our new and existing state homes for our customers. Our goal is to provide safe homes which enable people to live with independence, be able to invite whānau and friends to visit, and be part of the community they live in without barriers.

As well as ensuring that we build at least 15% of our new homes to Universal Design Standards, Kāinga Ora has signed an Accessibility Charter.(external link)

In the charter, we commit to making sure our customers can interact with our services in a way that meets their individual needs and promotes their independence and dignity. This means we ensure we interact with people through a range of accessible formats including large print and captioned videos.

Our policy and work plan

Our policy was developed through extensive engagement with our stakeholders including our customers and their families / whānau.

In order to successfully deliver on our policy we have put together a work plan which has recently been signed off by our board. This plan will help us to meet the key outcomes stated in our policy.

Key outcomes

The Policy is built around three key outcomes and underpinned by principles and commitments.

1. Increases the numer of our homes that meet universal design standards

Build standards

  • Review and confirm our universal design standards

New builds

  • Increase the number of new builds, built to universal design standards
  • Hold ourselvers to account through a new target
  • Ensure there are accessible standardised design options

Existing properties

  • Test universal design standard as part of the scope of our property retrofit through a pilot approach
  • Evaluate and confirm future scope
  • Develop a retrofit target

2. Meet the individual needs of customers


  • Support tenants with funding requests
  • Work with funders to improve the process
  • Modify the property ourselves or provide a purpose-built property when we have asked the tenant to move
  • Modify the property ourselves or provide a purpose-built property when it is the most appropriate way to meet the tenants' needs

Specialise solutions

  • Use demand information to inform specialised solutions for customer groups e.g. aged care, the Deaf community
  • Continue to provide bespoke solutions to our Community Group Housing tennts
  • Grow other supported living options as a solution for meeting the needs of disabled people

3. Improve information about customers' needs and the accessibility of our properties

Customer information

  • Collect and record information about customers' needs.

Asset information

  • Identify and record the accessability features of our properties.

Our Accessibility Policy on a page [JPG, 1.8 MB]

Principles and Commitments of the Accessibility Policy

“We commit to supporting our customers to live in a home that best suits them”

In developing our Policy, we have been mindful of the need to commit to some operating principles that will inform how we make decisions and interact with our customers going forward.

To this end, Kāinga Ora:

  1. Recognises the need to identify and remove barriers faced by all disabled people, and will achieve greater accessibility by aligning with a culture that recognises the dignity and worth of every individual, within a household, within a community
  2. Will seek to find varied and flexible solutions that meet our customers’ needs and allow them to live with dignity and independence for as long as they choose or are able
  3. Will engage, support and advocate for the development of a more inclusive and diverse community
  4. Will focus on removing barriers to full community participation for all our tenants and their whānau
  5. Will produce accessible solutions reflective of what communities need across a range of locations and types of homes
  6. Commits to active engagement with communities including the disability sector, and recognises the integral place the disability sector has in our communities
  7. Has a responsibility to meet our obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and those contained within the New Zealand Disability Strategy 2016-2026 and its linked Disability Action Plan 2019-2023(external link)

Tools, support and accessible versions of the Policy

List of documents and resources available.

  • Kāinga Ora Accessibility Policy – (Braille version). If you require this translation please send an email to with your name, address and contact number. We will courier a copy of this version to you.
  • Kāinga Ora Accessibility Policy – (NZ Audio DAISY). If you require this translation please send an email to with your name, address and contact number. We will courier a copy of this version to you.

If you need to contact us about the policy you can contact 

Accessibility Symposium 2020

Twelve months on from our inaugural Accessibility Symposium in 2019, this 2020 event was an exciting opportunity to come together again. 

Page updated: 14 March 2022