Long-time Matapihi man Hohepa Jock Ellis lives off the land - and seeks shelter in the $90,000 bungalow he built with his own hands nine years ago.
He survives on $164 of government money each week, and gets about in a six-year-old Toyota Hilux.
Just across the harbour - but seemingly a world away - Matua resident Rosmund Granger shares her comfortable Warratah St homestead with poodle-cross Suzy.
The 80-year-old widow relishes her spectacular panoramic view and loves getting out in her beautifully manicured garden.
The unlikely couple are as different as night and day.
They represent opposite ends of the welfare spectrum, as detailed in a newly released socio-economic report that offers a fascinating insight into the way the haves and the have-nots are distributed through the Bay of Plenty.
Degrees of Deprivation - An Atlas of Socioeconomic Difference, is based on the 2001 Census conducted by Statistics New Zealand. The report breaks the country into "meshes", or blocks of land, which are colour-coded in 10 scales based on levels of wealth.
In simple terms, deep red represents the poor and dark green the rich.
So while Mr Ellis just scrapes by in the red zone, Mrs Granger wallows in green. However, neither are fazed by their colour labels.
"I try and stay low-profile and low income because if you get too high, they say 'up go your rates',"said Mr Ellis.
"As long as the people around here get a fair go they have no problems. Everything is getting modernised now. I like it the old way."
Mrs Granger said a range of wealth in any area was inevitable. "I don't think we should make a feature out of the zones. I don't like being emphasised. I mean, we are all very much aware of it."
Both Mr Ellis and Mrs Granger are happy where they are. Said Mrs Granger: "I like my house, I like my neighbours, I like the area."
And Mr Ellis was equally emphatic: "You will have to bury me here."
The father-of-three has a son who is the greenkeeper at Tukairangi Orchard, and two daughters who are both solo mums. He lives alone but is surrounded by friends and family.
"We are all in the same whanau and related to the orchard."
Life is great in the tight-knit community. Children from the local kura kohungahunga, or kindergarten, mingle with elders; and friendly neighbours lend a hand.
In fact, Mr Ellis was busy making alterations to a mate's house when the Bay of Plenty Times visited.
"That's what we do, we help out one another. It's 'tau toko', you know, helping one another. If someone goes out to get some pipis you get some for your neighbour," he said.
Mrs Granger also has three adult children, two of whom have left the Bay. Her daughter was visiting when the Bay Times called by.
Mrs Granger's husband died four years ago, leaving her financially secure.
"I don't have to depend on the Government," she said.
The avid gardener drives a 2004 Renault Scenic worth about $40,000 - her fourth Scenic in as many years.
"There is so much room in them. You have no idea how much I can cart around," she said.
The rich-to-poor colour scale is based on income, employment, communication, transport, support, qualifications, living space and home ownership. The Western Bay is a patchwork quilt of colour. Report co-author Peter Crampton says the Western Bay is a diverse community.
"It doesn't stand out as one way or the other and that's a very good thing," he said. However, Tauranga definitely has a high level of needy areas, as represented by the red and orange zones.
Mr Crampton says areas often classed as affluent, such as Mount Maunganui, are not as dark a green as might be expected because of the number of holiday homes there.
The socio-economic report represents permanent residents only.
Ian Pool, a professor of demography at Waikato University, agrees that wealth is hugely varied in the Bay.
"But that's true for every community in New Zealand. There will always be pockets of red."
He warns about reading too much into the mesh-block system.
"In one mesh block you might have three houses - one which has one Pacific Island family with about 25 people in it, another the same and the third with a wealthy widow living on her own."
Mr Pool is working on a report on demographic statistics from 1986 to 2002.
It divides New Zealand into three groups - the disadvantaged, those just getting by, and those disadvantaged and excluded.
Perhaps surprisingly, the Bay falls into the excluded category.
"The Bay of Plenty is an enigma. In spite of the fact it has a wealthy section, which is the Western Bay, it still on most measures comes out unhappily."
Professor Pool says the influx of wealthy retirees and young to middle-aged workers affects the overall picture of the Bay.
A significant proportion of people come to the Bay solely to retire.
And others, in the 25-to-44 age bracket, come for work and bring children with them, or give birth to them in the Bay, he says.
"This is very important because in some parts of New Zealand, say around Timaru for example, people who are ageing stay put. They are born there, married there and retire there."
Tauranga Mayor Stuart Crosby says the socio-economic report confirms what the council already knows.
Mr Crosby says the council already takes into account factors such as employment levels, education facilities and wage rates for each area in its town planning process.
His Western Bay counterpart, Graham Weld, says his council is "well aware of our areas and groups of people who live in these areas".
Mr Weld says the Bay's diversity should be celebrated.
"That's one of the most exciting things about it."
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