Gang insignia scrawled into smashed-up walls, slime dripping onto clothing and a soiled nappy at her doorstep for three days.
These are some of the things fourth-year law student Arahia Hunter experienced in a Rotorua emergency housing motel.
Hunter said describing them as a breach of human rights was an understatement.
Her comments come as the Human Rights Commission released its findings this week from a review that found the Government’s emergency housing system “seriously” breached the rights to a decent home three times.
In the report, some emergency housing clients shared stories of how it impacted their physical and mental health, and others told of vomit-covered walls and cockroaches crawling over their faces.
Hunter said her own experience was no better.
Hunter told the Rotorua Daily Post that her on-and-off stays in motels left her feeling taken advantage of while the motels made money.
Several years ago, then a teacher aide, Hunter moved into a Rotorua motel with her husband when rent became too expensive.
Within a few hours of putting her clothes atop the wardrobe, she went to pick something up but found it to be wet.
It was not water, but slime.
Her room, and several others, had a pipe leak, with the substance seeping down the walls.
“My stuff was basically ruined.”
She said she complained but nothing was done.
This was her first taste of what it would be like living in the motel.
It was a six-month stint that first time around, and in that time Hunter contended with a heavily-stained mattress, smashed doors and walls, and gang insignia carved into surfaces.
The towels were changed once in that time, she said.
Other unit options in that motel were rooms with “water fountain” sinks.
“It was laughable.”
One time, a full nappy was left outside her unit for three days before being cleared, she said.
Rubbish would be piled high with inadequate bins, dogs were allowed in units and their soiling was not picked up.
Despite this, Hunter was not against the use of motels as emergency accommodation, so long as there was adequate structure, services, and support.
To her, this included motels facilitating tip trips and, importantly, providing communal cooking nights.
When there was kai, people were happy, and Hunter believed if residents had a full puku, there would have been fewer bashings, and less violence and destruction.
Hunter has now been in a private rental for two months and is studying full-time.
She had been boarding with family when she was not in the motel and said the move to a flat made her very happy.