Former MP Hone Harawira has been called in to try to ease tensions in Glen Innes after a rock was thrown at a removal man trying to move a state house out of the area last year.
Mr Harawira, who was arrested at an earlier protest against the house removals in 2012, introduced the state tenants' group last week to the man who has bought nine of their houses and wants to take a further 30 - Ricky Houghton of He Korowai Trust in Kaitaia.
Their arrival surprised the protest group at their regular Tuesday night meeting at Glen Innes Primary School and two members walked out.
Mr Houghton said those who stayed expressed their anger about his trust buying their homes.
"For the very first time, I saw and felt their frustration and their fear," he said. "It just made me cry, but I was not crying because of my situation, I was crying with them. They were crying too."
His mission followed a halt put on house removals after a series of violent incidents. Housing NZ chief executive Glenn Sowry said none had been removed since protesters blocked a removal truck last October.
"The blocking of this last scheduled relocation from Torrington Crescent followed a series of increasingly dangerous incidents at earlier house removals, including the destruction of a removal truck engine, and a contractor being knocked unconscious by a rock thrown at his head."
Housing NZ helped to produce a pamphlet which Mr Houghton took to the Glen Innes tenants, showcasing two young mothers waiting to move into houses that have been moved up to Kaitaia.
Mr Houghton said Housing NZ had not asked him to go to their meeting, but he had been trying to meet the group for more than a year. He said he was told to stay away last year by John Minto, a member of Mr Harawira's Mana Movement.
"What changed this time was I went to see Hone, and I said to Hone, would he take me to the meeting, despite everything?"
Mr Harawira, who lives near Kaitaia, agreed. The two men arranged to meet at the Avondale home of Mr Harawira's mother, Titewhai Harawira, and drove to Glen Innes in Mr Harawira's car.
"I didn't want to take my car so I hopped in with Hone and we both went together," Mr Houghton said.
He invited the group to visit Kaitaia to see how the houses were being used, and offered to help them do something similar. "I would like to help the group apply and gain that accreditation so they too can be a social housing provider," he said.
But a member of the group, Jimmy O'Dea, said the group was unlikely to visit Kaitaia. "It will be decided on Tuesday night but I can't see it."
One of the two who walked out, Sue Henry, said the group had heard "on the grapevine" that Mr Houghton wanted to meet them and voted again at a meeting two weeks ago not to meet him.
"I actually got a shock to see them there. Where do Housing NZ get off, sending bullies down to intimidate us out of our homes? It's disgusting."
A member of the Tamaki Housing Group says former MP Hone Harawira did not "gatecrash" a meeting of the group last week because he texted her two hours beforehand to say he was coming.
Marion Peka, a Glen Innes resident for 50 years, says Mr Harawira texted her at 4pm last Tuesday to say he was bringing Ricky Houghton of Kaitaia-based He Korowai Trust to the meeting, despite the group voting the previous week not to talk to Mr Houghton.
She immediately rang all members of the group to warn them that the two men would be at their meeting at Glen Innes Primary School at 6pm.
"They did not 'crash' that meeting. They rang the school prior to coming," she said.
"Once I got that text to say they were on their way, I rang all the group to say they were coming. There was no bullying."
She said she was "always happy to have Hone there" but she was aware of the vote not to let Mr Houghton attend.