A Bay of Plenty landlord has failed in his bid to evict his tenant, despite alleging his tenant's partner clocked him in the back of the head with a punch.

Des McLean told a Tenancy Tribunal hearing he visited the property on Onslow St in Kawerau on May 4 after earlier fearing the rental had been sent on fire.

McLean's parents Colin and Judith McLean owned the property, and Judith had spotted a Facebook post by tenant Katarina Tuwairua's daughter showing smoke damage to the ceiling.

She phoned McLean distressed and screaming the tenant was burning the house down, he said.

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Fire and police were sent to the house, but the following day McLean also went to the rental to see the damage for himself.

He claimed that when he first went to the property Tuwairua shouted expletives at him to go away.

He then went to the Kawerau police station, but finding it closed returned to the rental.

"Mr McLean says he was standing in the doorway asking to see the tenant when he was punched on the head from behind by the tenant's partner, Mr Paul Moeke," Tenancy Tribunal adjudicator A Macpherson said in the recent decision.

McLean said he was dazed by the hit but said the pair then exchanged further punches.

McLean claimed that as he left, Moeke picked up a big rock and waved a fence paling about while threatening to kill him.

McLean then drove straight to the Whakatane Police Station.

Tenant Tuwairua on the other hand said her daughter in law caused the smoke damage to the rental's ceiling when she accidentally overheated oil on the stove.

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However, the damage had since been cleaned up, she said.

Tuwairua also said McLean turned up unannounced in the middle of a child's birthday preparations and demanded his house back.

"Ms Tuwairua says she felt bullied and threatened and she told him he shouldn't be there in lockdown," adjudicator Macpherson said.

She claimed she stopped McLean from entering the house and told him to go see the police.

Tuwairua then left for a short time, but said when she returned McLean was pushing his way into the house and all the children were screaming and crying.

It was then Moeke came and pushed McLean, she said.

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Moeke backed up Tuwairua's story, saying the young girls at the rental ran around the back to get him, in "distress at a man threatening them at the front door".

"Mr Moeke says he pushed Mr McLean before he realised who he was, but says he was
acting in defence of this family and the family home," Macpherson said.

"Mr Moeke says that punches were thrown and when Ms Tuwairua turned up in the middle of everything, she tried to get Mr McLean out of the house."

After considering the evidence, Macpherson said he decided to reject McLean's application to evict Tuwairua.

He said Tuwairua had not encouraged any fighting and actually acted to break it up, the adjudicator said.

"Although I find that Mr Moeke acted in an aggressive manner, I also accept his evidence
that he was acting in defence of a perceived threat to his children and his home," Macpherson said.

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"I also find it more likely than not that Mr McLean acted in a similar aggressive
way; albeit his actions did not become physical until hands were put on him by
Mr Moeke."

"If I were to grant the application to terminate the tenancy, I find that the adverse
impact on Ms Tuwairua and her children and grand-children would not be justified
in these circumstances."