With a wheelchair and a front door powered by electricity Auckland man Greg McQuillan faced quite the predicament when power to his Bayswater home was cut on Tuesday night.

Along with hundreds of thousands of others McQuillan's home was plunged into darkness after a category 2 storm hammered Auckland earlier in the week.

About 3000 homes are still without power.

But McQuillan was left even more vulnerable with his wheelchair and front door reliant on power.


The house is owned by Housing New Zealand but a previous tenant had installed the electric door, now rendered practically useless.

For a few days McQuillan said he was comfortable, using a gas cooker to make food and boil water. His wheelchair even charged his phone and the lights on the chair gave him some light in the dark.

But by Thursday he was starting to panic.

Vector had told him to make alternative accommodation arrangements, which wasn't possible for him, so he thought to try Housing New Zealand (HNZ).

"I thought, 'this is going on too long,' McQuillan said.

"I said (to HNZ), 'you probably can't help me because it's not your issue,' but they went into gear. I got one of the area managers and he said, 'right this is no good you can't be in there like you are'. He said, 'I'll get back to you'."

Very soon two HNZ representatives arrived to the home to inspect the door and came replete with food including buns, cold meats and chocolate.

They organised a generator, spent more than an hour on the phone to Vector trying to organise repairs, and informed local police of McQuillan's situation which promoted three welfare checks by the local constable.


On Saturday morning HNZ called again, just to check on him.

"They've gone above and beyond the call of duty," McQuillan said.

"I made one phone call and they have bent over backwards to try and help me. This is the first time I've been put in this situation thinking, 'shit what do i do now?' But people have helped out a lot."

Housing New Zealand chief operating officer Paul Commons said many tenants were affected by the storm with the customer service team taking 254 urgent calls on Tuesday night compared to six on a normal night.

"There were many instances where our staff went above and beyond the call of duty to help tenants even though staff members were often as affected as everyone else," he said.

"We're very proud of both our staff and our contractors who responded to all different sorts of urgent and semi-urgent calls during the initial phases of the storm, then subsequently to carry out any other follow-on work."

Area managers and tenancy managers across Auckland region called tenants to check that they were okay and made visits to vulnerable tenants, in particular pensioner complexes that were without power, he said.

"We also had excellent support from other services such as Fire and Emergency New Zealand and the New Zealand Police, clearly no more so than in the case of Mr McQuillan."

Staff and contractors were continuing to liaise with tenants and get remaining work done.

Auckland Civil Defence Emergency Management director John Dragicevich has advised people to contact them on 0800 22 22 00 if they're feeling vulnerable.

The group was door knocking homes on Saturday despite the wet and portaloos and water was being made available to residents.

People who needed generators for emergency situations could contact them and one could be organised through the district health boards, Dragicevich said.