Ambitious plans to transform Māngere by building 10,000 new houses have been welcomed by local residents, provided they are given first shot at buying them.
The Government redevelopment project will include about 3500 KiwiBuild homes for first home buyers, 3000 new state homes and 3500 homes for sale on the open market.
But there are fears KiwiBuild homes valued at an "affordable" $650,000 may still be out of reach of many local residents, leaving wealthier Aucklanders free to snap up the pick of the houses.
Māngere Community Law Centre advocate Harry Toleafoa says home ownership is a dream for many locals.
"Ten-thousand homes is obviously something that could be good for Māngere, provided that the Māngere residents are given priority," he said.
"The research and literature is out there, if you've got a secure home, your outcomes in life, all your social indicators are quite positive."
The redevelopment is shaping up as a test case for the Government's broader plans to build 100,000 KiwiBuild homes across the country.
Māngere residents had been concerned the project would "gentrify" the suburb by pushing house prices up and locals out, just as Pacific people had settled in Ponsonby and Grey Lynn in the 1960s and '70s only to be pushed out later, Toleafoa said.
However, Urban Development and Housing Minister Phil Twyford said the aim was to get locals into the new Mangere homes.
His team had been discussing a priority ballot process that would give local residents a better chance of buying the Māngere KiwiBuild homes than those applying from suburbs further afield, he said.
Some KiwiBuild applicants would also be able to apply to have the Government share the upfront cost of buying the homes.
This would allow homebuyers to pay less upfront and borrow less from the banks, with the option of later buying out the Government's share in their home.
To make way for the redevelopment, 2700 state houses are set to be demolished in stages.
The homes had been built in the 1960s and '70s, were tired and worn out and each sat on a large block of land that could be used more efficiently, Twyford said.
Mary Fiefa is one of the last four families to be moved out from the homes earmarked for demolition during the project's first phase.
Many of her friends and family members, who had lived in the neighbouring homes, have already gone.
"Everyone liked it here," Fiefa said.
"It's sad because we have to leave all our houses, and because we've been here for ages, since I was little, like a baby, and there is heaps of childhood memories."
Samantha, who did not want to give her last name, said her state home is set for demolition as part of a later phase of the project, but she doesn't yet know when she has to move out.
"When we moved in, we signed the contract saying we knew there would be development but there is no timeframe," she said.
"That has put more stress on me and my five children [about whether] they are going to be able to find us [another] five-bedroom home."
Twyford said Housing NZ was working on a case-by-case basis with those forced out of their homes.
"They will not be just evicted and left alone, Housing New Zealand will work closely with them to make sure they are settled in another property that suits them," he said.
Those who wanted to live in one of the about 3000 new state homes being built during the redevelopment would also have the chance to do so.
Samantha said she it would be nice to be given a new home, but she would rather not be forced to move after her family had earlier spent time homeless and her children had been forced to regularly changes schools.
"We've moved a lot. I had thought this was it once you get a Housing New Zealand home, that's it, you're settled," she said.