Today we reveal the shocking situation one family of seven is currently facing with trying to find a home in our current housing crisis. Their plight is sad - especially given their special circumstances - but it is reality for many people struggling to find roofs over their heads. They have no power, no running water and are living in a situation most people would find difficult for a weekend let alone months on end. Reporter Kelly Makiha talks to the family about how they cope with day-to-day life as well as the social service agency that is trying to help them.
They sit around a plastic table doing their school work with gumboots on because the rain outside is slowly creeping inside their tent.
Their possessions should be fine for now as they're all in plastic bins stacked around them.
They've got heavy jackets on and rugs draped over their knees to keep warm but despite the cold, there are flies everywhere.
This is not some kind of adventure.
This is the Reddings' home - and it has been for the past seven months.
What makes their story even more unbelievable is among the family of seven who are living in a tent in Edgecumbe, there are two severely disabled children and a third who has a serious medical condition.
Their plight highlights the country's dire housing shortage.
The Reddings have jobs and money and can afford a roof over their heads, they just can't find one.
The Ministry of Social Development is trying to help them, but given they have incomes, they aren't deemed as high needs as other homeless families.
Given their circumstances with the children, they don't want to split up so finding a house big enough is difficult.
Living in the tent is Gail, 65 and her two daughters Sharon, 44, and Margaret, 45. Sharon has three children: Ricky, 22, Dominic, 12, and Shyanne, 6. Margaret has one daughter, Lettisha, 14.
Shyanne is severely disabled, suffering from a rare condition called Cri-du-chat (cat's cry) syndrome, meaning her physical and mental development is delayed. Her needs are high and she needs specialised one-on-one care.
Dominic has a long list of disorders including attention deficit disorder, autism, oppositional defiant disorder, Asperger's, auditory processing disorder and he suffers from phobias, manic depression and anxiety.
Lettisha has Long QT syndrome, a heart condition which means she could drop dead at any time, and has learning difficulties.
Given the children's needs, the Reddings choose to home-school them.
Gail and Margaret deliver newspapers and have part time cleaning jobs, Sharon works full-time cleaning and Ricky is doing casual farm work although he has applied for several full-time jobs.
Gail said she and Margaret are the primary teachers for their Christian-based home-schooling, which they slot in between their cleaning jobs and newspaper runs.
Their tent is pitched on private property but they need to use bathroom facilities and access power at Gail's mother's retirement unit, a short distance up the road. They take turns going to her unit to have showers every other day and charge their mobile phones.
They have a portable toilet inside their tent, which Dominic refuses to use and instead holds on until he goes to his great grandmother's unit.
They get water from Gail's mother's unit and heat it on their two-burner gas cooker for hot drinks, to wash and do dishes.
They don't have power but instead use torches at night and buy their food daily so it doesn't go off.
There's not a lot to do after dinner so the family usually goes straight to bed once it gets dark.
Gail said they've never had housing problems before, having lived at Ōtakiri in a rental for about eight years before they were forced to move so the landlord could fix it up.
They are hoping Housing New Zealand's plan to build bigger houses in Rotorua might work out for them as they weren't too fussed where they lived, as long as they had at least four bedrooms.
Ideally any home would come with land as they had animals, including two dogs and three cats. They had other animals currently leased on farmland, including chickens, calves and horses.
Gail said they had missed out on every home they had tried to get privately in the past seven months.
But despite the family's dire situation, they try to make the best of their situation.
"We try to stay happy," Gail said.
"We are have some arguments and the kids are sick of living in a tent and not having power and water. That's the hardest part."
Margaret said given they were raising the children on their own without support from the children's fathers, they had to stick together.
Gail said it was hard enough looking after three high-needs children, let along doing it in a tent.
"We are support for each other. If one of us is having a bad day with the kids, the other one takes over."
Gail said she honestly didn't think they would be living in a tent for so long and she worried they would be stuck there for winter.
"Every other time we have shifted we have found somewhere. But all the people who are renting their houses are now selling them because it's got too hard to be a landlord with all the new regulations."
Gail said despite trying to remain positive, some days were harder than others.
"Sometimes I just don't know if we are doing the right thing but we have got nowhere else to go. It's either here or living in our car and that's worse. At least with the tent the kids can walk around."
Ministry of Social Development regional commissioner Mike Bryant said the department had not heard from the Reddings since February when they had asked them for documents to support their request for assistance.
Gail told the Rotorua Daily Post she thought they had already provided that documentation and were on the waiting list.
Bryant said MSD staff made a number of attempts to contact the Reddings in March and April.
"Families' circumstances change and when they don't get back in touch with us, that is often because their circumstances have changed and they no longer need our help."
Since the Rotorua Daily Post contacted the Ministry about the family's situation, Bryant said the department had been back in touch with the family as it was clear the family would still like their support.
"We are working with them to look at solutions to their complex housing needs, and to seek the appropriate information from them to support that."
Bryant said it was a complex case as it involved several income sources requiring a six-bedroom house, children with disabilities and a number of animals the family want to take with them.
"The majority of the adults in the family are working. Income is a key determinant for social housing assistance as the register is based on need, those with lower incomes receive a higher priority.
"The family are looking for a home in one specific area, where their jobs are. The smaller the search area, the fewer houses are generally available."
Bryant said their options included emergency housing, transitional housing or if they qualified, public housing. Emergency and transitional housing did not generally allow pets.