Occupy Pomare protest planned

03:53, Nov 18 2011
NEIGHBOURS: Yvonne Kapua, left, and Korina Haua want to be able to move back into their Pomare community.
NEIGHBOURS: Yvonne Kapua, left, and Korina Haua want to be able to move back into their Pomare community.

Frustrated Pomare residents are planning to occupy the site of their demolished homes, with Housing New Zealand saying it strongly opposes the plan.

Farmer Crescent is in the middle of a Housing New Zealand demolition project that will remove 88 state homes.

Residents are concerned not enough state housing will be provided when the project is complete and houses are rebuilt.

From Saturday morning community members will move into tents erected on the demolition site, in a movement dubbed Occupy Pomare.

They will be surrounded by headstones and crosses representing "lost houses".

Some families were being moved from houses they have lived in for over 40 years, community spokesperson Dina Awarau said.


"This is not just about Pomare. The same thing is happening in Glen Innes and it will be other communities next.

"Many low income families are already struggling to get affordable housing and Housing New Zealand selling land to private developers is only going to make that worse".

Housing New Zealand acting general assets manager Chris Jones said it strongly opposed the plan.

''Permission has not been provided by Housing New Zealand to do so and we are concerned for the safety of the community should they take this course of action.  We have communicated this directly to the organisers.''

Housing New Zealand continued to find homes for displaced residents, he said.

''We understand some in the community have concerns about what redeveloping housing in Pomare will mean and we have committed to communicating openly and transparently with them as we undertake this redevelopment.''

Korina Haua, Tolly Jackson and Yvonne Kapua lived next door to each other in Pomare for more than 30 years before being moved. "We all looked after each other. I feel like I've moved from a community to a street where I don't know anyone. We just want to be allowed to come back to Pomare when the redevelopment is done," Ms Haua said.

Housing New Zealand this week called for tenders to help rebuild Farmer Crescent.

The demolition phase was expected to be completed by December 31, the tender documents said.

It was hoped to select the preferred bidder by May next year.

The documents underlined Housing New Zealand's intention to own no more than 20 per cent of homes in the redeveloped Pomare.

"For Pomare, the Corporation is looking to improve social outcomes by creating more housing choice; through having more private (and/or affordable) dwellings and a significantly lower number of state houses.''

Underpinning the plan was the theory that people living in communities with high numbers of state houses became "trapped into cycles of disadvantage.''

Last Saturday, hundreds of people rallied in Farmer Crescent to protest the demolitions.

Farmer Crescent came to national attention in early 2009 when Mongrel Mob members were accused of terrorising a single mother into leaving her home.

Housing New Zealand spent more than $1 million trying to evict three gang-linked women and their families from the street, before deciding not to press ahead with the evictions.


February 1, 2009: Three Mongrel Mob members allegedly terrorise a woman and her two children, forcing them from their home in Farmer Cres, then ransack it.

February 11, 2009: 50 police swoop on the homes of gang members around Farmer Cres, arresting 10 people.

March: Housing NZ issues 90-day eviction notices to five Farmer Cres households.

September 2009: Appeal to the District Court  three fails.

October 2009: Appeal to the High Court fails and the women get until the end of the month to leave. November: They are given a reprieve pending a Court of Appeal hearing.

December 2010: The court says the Human Rights Review Tribunal should hear their discrimination claim.

March 2011: Housing NZ announces the start of a state housing redevelopment programme in Pomare with the removal of up to 27 units.

June 2011: Human Rights Review Tribunal hearing in Wellington.

August 2011: Tribunal rules Housing NZ had not discriminated against the women, and could act as it saw fit.

September 2011: Housing NZ decides not to press ahead with the evictions.

October 2011: The second stage of demolition begins, with the removal of 61 state homes from Farmer Cres.

November 2011: Locals hold a rally against the demolition plans.

The Dominion Post