Toyota supports Waka Aronui car leasing scheme

Toyota New Zealand is honoured to be part of a broad coalition of partners that have come together to create Waka Aronui, a pioneering community-based car leasing scheme in Auckland.

Waka Aronui was launched on 26 May at the Ngā Whare Waatea Marae in Favona, Auckland. In the scheme, 20 families will each lease a low-emitting hybrid electric Toyota Corolla wagon for a set fee of $95 per week.

The three-year lease covers warrant of fitness, registration, insurance, servicing, repairs and a new set of tyres every year.

Toyota Corolla hybrids were chosen for the scheme as they not only use around a third less fuel than a comparable petrol engine, but also have a much lower carbon (CO2) footprint.

Toyota New Zealand Chief Executive Officer, Neeraj Lala says the beauty of the scheme is that it addresses a societal need in terms of financial and environmental impact.

“When I was first approached about the scheme and heard about the social impact it could have for families, it was an eye-opening moment for me. As a builder of affordable cars, it has always been Toyota’s view that the transition to a low emission future should be accessible and affordable for everyone,” Neeraj says.

“We knew we had to be involved in the Waka Aronui programme as it has immense potential to make a difference to people’s everyday lives,” he says.

Neeraj says Toyota is a mobility company focused on the future. It is increasingly reducing carbon emissions from its vehicles, investing in zero emissions technology, and testing new models of car ownership and sharing.

The concept behind Waka Aronui originated at a Financial Services Federation forum in 2018, and was picked up by the Ākina Foundation, who then worked with public and private sector partners to make it a reality.

The project is being run by the Manukau Urban Māori Authority, with start-up and pilot funding provided by Toyota, the Tindall Foundation (which provided a $200,000 low interest impact investment loan), Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Waka Kotahi and Auckland Council.

Louise Aitken, the former Chief Executive of the Ākina Foundation who joined Toyota New Zealand in March 2022 as Partner in Circular and Climate innovation, says Waka Aronui shows the power of collaboration between community organisations, impact investors such as Tindall Foundation, government, and business.

“As a member of this scheme we are embracing our responsibility to be a sustainable business and we are demonstrating our thinking as a future-focused mobility company,” says Louise Aitken.

While the Government announced funding of $20m for similar car-leasing schemes in at least three communities as part of its Emissions Reduction Plan, the funding has not been committed to Waka Aronui, although it is likely to apply to the fund.

Louise Aitken says Waka Aronui is proof of the concept of a community-based car leasing scheme.

“The key to Waka Aronui is that it was first about people and their needs. Whanau are in the middle, and everything sits around that, including Toyota and we are honoured and privileged to be in that space,” she says.

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