Family kicked out of home after 47 years

MORE TIME: Michael and Moepai Temata have lived in this Housing New Zealand home for 47 years but will be relocated when the area is redeveloped.
MORE TIME: Michael and Moepai Temata have lived in this Housing New Zealand home for 47 years but will be relocated when the area is redeveloped.

Home is where the heart is. That's why the Temata family wants to stay in Glen Innes. 

Michael and Moepai Temata and many others will be relocated in May so that 157 Housing New Zealand properties can be redeveloped.

''When we received the letter saying we would have to move we both broke down and cried. It was as if one of our family members had died,'' Moepai Temata says.

Northern Glen Innes will be redeveloped as part of the Tamaki Transformation Programme and 260 new homes will be built.

Lobbyist Sue Henry is refusing to leave Glen Innes, and several other residents are also upset they're being forced to move.

The Tematas want to keep their state home of 47 years.

They've raised  five children there and welcomed many grandchildren.

''We came here when people were still paying in pounds and shillings. It cost me 20 to make a driveway in front of the house. Later the council started doing all the driveways down the street for free,'' Michael Temata says.

He suffered an injury four years ago that was made worse by diabetes and resulted in him having both his legs amputated above the knees.

''I think I've done more work on the house now than when I had legs. I just sit on the ground and scoot around on my backside.''

Housing New Zealand retrofitted the home in 2009 as part of its Healthy Housing Programme and made it wheelchair-accessible.

Michael Temata has made several  improvements himself with the corporation's approval, including building a deck, a carport, paving and cementing pathways, planting fruit trees and putting up a fence.

The  68-year-old  says he worked as much over-time as he could to provide for the family while his wife, 67, worked nights at a laundry factory.

They never made enough money for a home loan deposit so the state house in Glen Innes was their only option.

They've been offered a home in a Kings Rd complex in Panmure but the Tematas say it's not suitable because the block is four storeys high.

Housing New Zealand spokesman Sean Bignell says he sympathises with the Tematas and  every effort will be made to transfer tenants to a location that suits them.

''This will include taking into account schooling, and proximity to employment and support services.

''We are working closely with vulnerable tenants such as the elderly to ensure they have the right information and support throughout.''

Moepai Temata wrote to Prime Minister John Key asking for grace.

''We know the project has to happen but we just want more time to have the family around and have one more Christmas together at Number 13 before we all go our own ways.

''Some people might be happy to go, that's all right they've only been here for a short time, but not us.''

East And Bays Courier