The family of a man who was found dead in his council flat five days after he died has called for more frequent checks on the elderly tenants.

Bryan McGinty, 73, was found dead on June 24 in his Manurewa flat run by Haumaru Housing, a company owned 51 per cent by Selwyn Foundation and 49 per cent by Auckland Council which has managed the council's 62 pensioner villages since 2016.

A family member said two older sisters visited their brother regularly to help with housework, shopping and other tasks.

But McGinty insisted on keeping his independence and the family felt that Haumaru could learn from the way he was left to die alone.


"The thing with Bryan that I worried about is that he would not let me help him. He was so proud," the family member said.

"I can't talk about the lack of care because they [Haumaru] are not set up to be hospice care or to go and check on people.

"But my suggestion is that they should have someone live in there that goes around and checks on those people."

McGinty had lived alone since his wife died, lost an eye several years ago and had glaucoma in the other eye so he did not see well.

"He was a very quiet, humble man. He would never raise his voice," the family member said.

"He had nothing and asked for nothing. He was like a living saint to me, he was so calm. He looked after his mother for years, because he was that sort of person."

She said he had a "hard case" sense of humour despite his disabilities.

"I said, 'Bryan, when you catch up to your mother then you're old.' He just laughed and laughed," she said.


"We used to go out and get DVDs and he used to sit on his chair and watch them.

"He was very active. He used to love walking. But when he lost his eye he had to stop.

"If you met him in a pub you'd say, what a hard case! He loved playing snooker."

Haumaru chief executive Gabby Clezy said yesterday that the company was a "social landlord", not a health service.

"We can refer them to services if tenants ask us to do that, but we don't provide care or health services. We do provide tenancy management and property services," she said.

Leabank Court, the pensioner village in Manurewa where Bryan McGinty was found dead five days after he died. Photo / Dean Purcell
Leabank Court, the pensioner village in Manurewa where Bryan McGinty was found dead five days after he died. Photo / Dean Purcell

But Wendy Bremner, who was chief executive of Age Concern Counties Manukau until the role was abolished last week, said there was a big gap in care for the elderly since district health boards stopped funding day activities for them last year.


"Even though everyone knows that isolation and loneliness is one of the biggest risks, the funding for those day groups has been cut," she said.

She said many elderly people feared asking for help because they did not want to be put into rest homes, especially if, like council tenants, they could not afford to pay for support in their own homes.

"They can't afford to privately rent, so if they need additional support they should be able to access someone to come in and give them help with personal cares," she said.

"One would hope that, where you have an organisation like Haumaru, that they would have systems in place to assess entitlements with Work and Income, if they need Driving Miss Daisy or Total Mobility, and so on."

But she said many other elderly people outside the pensioner villages also needed support.

"You could live in the community and not know your neighbour and you wouldn't know they've been dead for five days," she said.


Age Concern Auckland acting chief executive Kai Quan urged "everyone in the community" to take responsibility for checking on older neighbours.

"If you haven't seen an elderly neighbour for a few days, knock on their door and check they are okay," she said.

"If you don't get a response and have significant concerns for their welfare, then call the Police and they can do a welfare check. We want to prevent more tragedies like this one happening."