The legal battle to get a Glen Innes woman to give her state house over to developers cost more than $44,000.

Tamaki Regeneration Company spent months fighting to get possession of the house it needed to make way for a new housing development from Ioela (Niki) Rauti.

It had been the sickness beneficiary's home for almost three decades, since she took over the lease of the former Housing New Zealand property, after her mother's death, in 1999.

Niki Rauti's former house, when protests against its possession by the TRC were still underway. Photo / Stock
Niki Rauti's former house, when protests against its possession by the TRC were still underway. Photo / Stock

Previously Rauti said she wanted to protect her rights to a home for life - but TRC wanted to demolish and replace it, along with five neighbouring properties, with 12 new private homes as part of the Tamaki Regeneration project.


TRC, a joint government and Auckland-council owned entity, offered Rauti several replacement homes, all of which she deemed unfit for her needs.

The 62-year-old took her case to the courts with assistance of lawyer Justin Harder who represented her pro-bono.

Information released under the Official Information Act (OIA) showed TRC's legal costs across five months were $44,557.31.

It said this was covered by "rental income from social houses" owned by Tamaki Regeneration Limited - TRC's asset-owning subsidiary.

$17,541.50 of the legal cost went towards the District Court case in April and June; $27,015.81 was spent in July, August and September on the High Court case.

The total cost fighting the district court case in April and June of this year reached $17,541.50 - and in July, August and September a total $27,015.81 was spent on the High Court case.

It was the only case TRC has fought in court since it took over ownership and management of the Glen Innes state houses in 2016.

Rauti's case hinged on an argument the notice served did not appropriately identify the landlord acting on behalf of TRL.


Her final bid failed in September when High Court Judge Graham Lang ruled issues with identification on the termination notice did not affect its validity and dismissed her appeal.

Rauti's fight looked set to continue with supporters pledging to camp outside her place - but a last minute conversation saw Rauti take up TRC's offer of a new house nearby.

Less than a week after she moved house, bulldozers demolished her former home, clearing the land for new houses which TRC expected would be built by March 2019.

It's developments like these that formed the foundations of Rauti's battle, which could be traced back to when the homes were still owned by Housing New Zealand.

When moves were first made to redevelop a number of houses and sell them on the private market, in 2011, Rauti and other concerned community members began to push back.

They established the Tamaki Housing Group, which has continued to fight against mixed housing developments which it sees as gentrification projects that is to the disadvantage of the poor.

The Tamaki Regeneration project in the area where Rauti's house was, would see the majority of the 2800 houses in the area demolished and replaced with a mix of 7500 social, affordable and market properties in the next 10-15 years.

TRC said the same number of social houses would remain, but it was the ratio of social to private market houses that would change from 60:40 in favour of social houses to 25-30 per cent social houses.

It said the redevelopment would also see it "right-size" properties, putting families into bigger or smaller houses as required.

Data received under the OIA showed while the number of social homes available would go unchanged, overall there were likely to be fewer bedrooms, down from around 7000 bedrooms to 6853 by the project's end.

Where the majority was once three-bedroom properties, the majority of the new social houses, 863 (31 per cent), would be one-bedroom apartments, followed by 699 (25 per cent) two-bedroom and 614 (22 per cent) three-bedroom.

While there would be a decrease in the available two and three-bedroom properties, there would be an increase of 190 five-bedroom properties, to a total 254.

By August 2017, 77 state homes had been demolished, with two others relocated and by 2017 it said 243 houses had been built, which included 85 social houses (including five for Accessible Properties), 34 affordable homes for first home buyers, and 226 private market homes.

TRC said for every single house demolished, three new homes were put in its place - "one will be a social house and the other two will be sold as affordable or private market homes".

As of November 13, it had moved 91 tenants out of their former homes, and a further 19 would be due to move by mid-2018. Another 43 would also need to move by mid-2019.

TRC said it was committed to helping tenants who wished to stay in the area to do so, "as long as they are eligible for social housing".