Alanah Eriksen

Alanah Eriksen is the New Zealand Herald's property reporter, and assistant chief reporter.

47 years of memories won't save house

Police remove people protesting at a meeting between Auckland Mayor Len Brown and Housing Minister Phil Heatley at Tamaki College yesterday.Photo / Sarah Ivey
Police remove people protesting at a meeting between Auckland Mayor Len Brown and Housing Minister Phil Heatley at Tamaki College yesterday.Photo / Sarah Ivey

Double amputee Tuaine Temata built his own deck at his Glen Innes home by crawling around on his hands.

Ramps were installed and doorways widened at the Housing NZ house to make room for his wheelchair when he lost his legs to diabetes in 2006.

Five feijoas trees in the backyard were planted by each of his five children and concrete in the driveway has the names of some of his grandchildren who wrote in it as it set.

But all the memories and renovations done on his house of 47 years are not enough to convince the Government not to sell the property.

The 69-year-old and his wife, Moepai, 68, will be moved as part of the Tamaki Restoration Programme, under which Housing New Zealand will sell or redevelop over 100 homes.

The Herald met the couple at their home in Silverton Rd after a meeting between Auckland Mayor Len Brown and Housing Minister Phil Heatley at Tamaki College yesterday.

The pair launched the Tamaki Redevelopment Company, a joint government and council organisation that will oversee the transformation over the next 15 to 20 years.

Police were called after a dozen protesters turned up and refused to leave.

They accused the council of a lack of transparency during the meeting, which was open to invited leaders in the community.

Officers moved the demonstration outside the grounds but protesters continued to chant slogans such as, "John Key, you've got mail, GI is not for sale."

That incident was tame compared with the scenes in May when about 100 protesters turned up to stop the removal of a house in Lyndhurst St.

A man was knocked unconscious and others were moved by officers 500m away from the site.

The Government has contributed $5 million to the project, which was announced in 2008, while the council has put in $3.5 million.

Tuaine and Moepai Temata said they were upset they were not told about yesterday's meeting.

The Herald has been following their case since last year when they were told they would have to be out of their home by May. They have since been given an extension until at least the end of the year, as the council works with developers.

The Tematas, who were born in Rarotonga, have lived in their home since 1964.

"It's the only home we've ever had our name attached to," Mrs Temata said.

"These houses were designed for the poor and now they'll be for the rich and famous. When we got the news, we felt like one of our family members had passed on. We were really, really sad."

Mr Heatley said the relocations were necessary to better insulate homes and develop the area.

- NZ Herald

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