Police have released the name of a 72-year-old woman who died while living in her car on an Auckland suburban street.
Helena Pauleen Wakefield was found dead on St Vincent Ave, Remuera, on the morning of July 7.
She and her vehicle were so well kept that neighbours only realised she was living inside it when they spotted her wiping the car's windows from the inside because of the condensation that had built up.
Until today, police had refused to name the woman despite repeated queries from the Herald for detail.
"Helena's death has been referred to the Coroner. Our thoughts are with Helena's family at this time," a police spokesman said.
The spokesman said police were aware of two calls reporting a person living in their car, on May 15 and June 8.
"On at least one occasion the informant was advised that the council should be contacted to report the situation.
"In general, police advise the public to report any serious concerns regarding a person's immediate safety by calling our Emergency Communications Centres on 111.
"Any calls to report homelessness and concerns in regard to this are best directed to the appropriate social agency or their local council."
A review is underway by Auckland Council after staff wrongly classed the woman living in a car on the street as a freedom camper, despite concerns raised by members of the public that she was homeless and would not survive the winter.
In a statement, Auckland Council head of community delivery central/east, Kevin Marriott said: "Out of respect for her recent and sad passing, we cannot comment at this time."
Age Concern Auckland chief executive Kevin Lamb said the awful reality was this was a situation waiting to happen.
"We know it's not an unusual thing. Fortunately for older people it's not that common, but we do know there's a huge amount of pressure on older people to try to find appropriate accommodation, to be able to afford accommodation, so sadly it's not a surprise."
Lamb said while they hadn't had reports of people living in cars, there had been a "steady increase" in older people struggling with affordability with accommodation and emergency housing.
"It's frightening in a modern city like Auckland.
"We desperately need to improve and increase the number of transitional housing units that are available to support older people because there are virtually none in Auckland, you can probably count the number of transitional rooms for older people on the fingers of one hand."
He said this situation sent a clear message that agencies needed to collaborate better and support those in need.
"We need to be better collectively."
A resident whose family tried several times to help the woman - by contacting the council and police - described with sadness how she and other family members had tried to engage with her on several occasions.
She would not usually say anything back to them, the resident said, only choosing to nod or shake her head in response to their questions.
When they tried to ask her if she had any family, she indicated she did not.
"At times, she'd ignore us. She'd just stay in the back seat."
The resident's father, Paul, spoke to Newstalk ZB's Kerre McIvor after seeing comments online criticising the family and others for not doing more to help, such as physically removing the woman from the car.
"Both my daughter, her sons, her partner and I have tried to talk to this lady during the last couple of months.
"My daughter's partner was the most successful. At about two weeks ago, he had a conversation with the lady. He had said: 'What can we do? Who can we call to help you?'
"And she declined all assistance," he said.
Paul described how the woman took very good care of the vehicle, acknowledging it did not look as if it had not moved from the same spot for months.