For 41 years Peter and Raewyn Hurrings' fence sat at the edge of what they thought was a decent side section of their Hastings property.
They grew trees and cultivated a garden and lawn.
Little did they know the fence that was put in by a previous owner of 401 Kotuku St, was incorrectly placed two metres on to a neighbouring property.
The landowners next door, Housing New Zealand - now known as Kāinga Ora, had not noted it with them in their first four decades on the 97 square metres of land, the Hurrings say.
Then a housing crisis hit Hawke's Bay, and in May 2020, Kāinga Ora lodged an application with Hastings District Council for a resource consent to build a new unit in the large backyard of the state house next door.
To meet resource consent conditions for the driveway for the new unit, Kāinga Ora needed to reclaim the land on their boundary.
So it did. This week the contractors came in, the fence came down, so did a tree, and Raewyn's garden was torn up along the 48.5 metre long and 2 metre wide piece of land.
The Hurrings, in their 70s, were told about the plan in advance but felt they still had a chance to save their previous piece of paradise.
They say the work has blindsided them and want to share their story in the hope that those with the Government as neighbours are aware that it could happen to them too.
Kāinga Ora has apologised for its communication with the couple but says the development must happen because of the region's acute need for state housing.
A spokesperson said it will compensate the pair for the plant removal and have agreed to construct a fence in the colour of their choice to match their current fence.
"Our communication should have been better around work starting, and this would have been unsettling.
"We have been in touch with them to apologise, and committed to ensure better communication and there is a single point of contact for us to work together, provide support and raise any concerns."
Peter Hurring said he felt like his "hands were tied" because of the sudden removal of their fence.
"It's just: 'we're determined to put this house in, we don't care about the expense, we're going to rip all your stuff out, too bad' - that's the attitude they've got.
"I thought this Government said 'be kind' to others, what sort of kindness are they showing us?
"The fence would've been there for more than 50 years and no one complained and we weren't aware of it, we were just buying a property."
He said the stress was "killing" Raewyn, who was devastated at losing her garden.
Hurring said ahead of buying the house 41 years ago, they went to the Hastings council and asked if there was anything they should know about before buying it.
They were only told about the Hawke's Bay Expressway, a proposal at the time, which was constructed directly behind their house, the Hurrings said.
A Hastings District Council spokesperson said it became aware of the boundary issue in May 2020 following Kainga Ora lodging its residential subdivision application.
"This is a civil matter between the two landowners.
"Council has no involvement with this apart from having a regulatory role in terms of consenting the subdivision and building permit."
A Kāinga Ora spokesperson said the land was owned by it and the area was also occupied by the council's stormwater and sewer services which need to be upgraded as part of the development.
Kāinga Ora said the home was being built as there is an "urgent" need for more public housing in Hastings.
In the Hastings District the number of applicants on the Housing Register has increased from 324 in June 2019 to 567 as of June 2020, the spokesperson said.
The Hurrings have asked if they can retain 40cm of the space so there is room to leave up a third panel by the fence.
A Kāinga Ora spokesperson said it is "still working through this option to understand if it is feasible".
"We always want to work closely with neighbours to ensure our developments work well for the people and families in urgent need of a home, as well as the neighbours and community.
"In particular, where there is an impact to a neighbour's property we want to work together to support them and develop solutions that work for both of us," the spokesperson said.