HNZ family grateful for relocation
The removal of state homes in Glen Innes to make way for private properties, and a smaller amount of state properties, has caused upheaval, protest and outrage, but one family say they could not be happier.
Jacob Te Tai, a father of five, said relocating was the best thing for his family.
The Te Tai family lived in Glen Innes for eight years and were relocated to Point England a few months ago because their state house was being moved.
The relocations were part of the Tamaki Transformation Programme which has seen 156 Housing New Zealand properties make way for 260 new homes.
Seventy-eight will be owned by Housing New Zealand, 39 by other social and community housing providers charging higher rent, and 143 houses will be for private sale.
Forty state houses in the area will be modernised.
Protests have brought work to a halt several times since house removals began in February.
In May, a protest at the site became violent and protesters alleged police were using "quasi-military tactics".
Veteran activist John Minto was involved in protests.
But the Te Tai family are grateful they have been given another house.
Te Tai said: "We lived in Torrington for eight years so it was home to us, but when the Tamaki Transformation project came up and we were asked to leave we prayed about it a lot.
"We're not fussy, we've seen it as a blessing instead. It was by the heart of God and the heart of Housing New Zealand that we got given a house.
"If it was my house and I was asked to leave then yes, I'd be angry, but I know this is not my house.
"We feel blessed to live in a country that provides housing to those with legitimate reasons who need one."
They were first moved into a state house two weeks after their previous home was ruined by flooding.
Both Jacob and his wife Rhoanne work full-time and their young children attend school in Glen Innes.
The old Torrington Cres state house had three bedrooms and a large yard.
"It was a small house but we made it work for us. We converted the big lounge into a sleeping area for me and my girls and the biggest bedroom became the lounge.
"The yard wasn't fenced in so someone had to be there watching the kids at all times," he said.
Now they live in a four-bedroom, fenced property which better suits their needs, he says.
"Some people see it as just a house but it's so much more than that. Being moved into a better house has done so much for the morale of my family.
"We can be together and not be cramped and the kids can play outside while my wife and I cook in the kitchen."