This morning Bella Vista homeowners had their first opportunity to address the full Tauranga City Council about how their home ownership dreams turned into nightmares.

Some homeowners agreed to speak in the open, and there was a strong media presence in the chamber to hear their stories and their pleas for the council to make things right.

Others asked to address the council in a private session.

"We're here to listen," Mayor Greg Brownless told the assembled group, which includes most of the 21 affected homeowners as well as some supporters.

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Later today the council will deliberate behind closed doors and make a decision about how to respond to the crisis going forward.

Homeowners have called for the council to buy their properties at market value as if there were no defects, and to consider compensating them for their emotional distress.

In more than an hour of emotional presentations, they told how, after years of consent and building delays, their lives were turned upside down on March 9 when the council evacuated the houses in the Lakes development as Cyclone Hola approached.

They talked about how in the three months that followed, their health suffered, relationships were strained, children traumatised, pets upset and their plans - to grow their families, to settle down, to progress their careers - were put on hold as they moved constantly.

They said they had lost faith in the council and its processes, which they had thought were there to protect them.

Councillors did not ask any questions of the homeowners who spoke in public except for the addresses of their homes.