Evicted beachcomber says he'll go quietly

LYN HUMPHREYS
Last updated 05:00 22/03/2013
beacher
ANDY JACKSON/Fairfax NZ

'I'M OUT OF HERE': Eric Brewer.

Beach hut
ANDY JACKSON/Fairfax NZ
MOVING ON: Eric Brewer, an unconventional and easily recognisable Oakura beachcomber, has been given notice he must pull down his driftwood home on Tapuae Beach reserve.

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An eccentric living in a hand-made driftwood and tarpaulin home on the foreshore near Oakura, Taranaki, has been given his marching orders.

But Eric Brewer, 62, says he is unfazed at the threat to remove him from his seaside home with the million-dollar views at Tapuae.

"I'm out of here," the sickness beneficiary told the Taranaki Daily News team whom he warmly welcomed into his beach bach on a perfect late summer's afternoon yesterday.

Averse to paying rent or a mortgage, he has no idea where he will go. He has lived off-and-on at Tapuae for nearly two decades.

The New Plymouth District Council confirmed last night it was taking action after receiving complaints from nearby landowners and the public about "Mr Brewer's unlawful activities on the land".

Back on the Tapuae foreshore, a good friend calling in to check on Mr Brewer, said he was upset that his mate was due to be "chucked out" next week. "I feel very sorry for him."

The man, who asked not to be named, said he called in to advise Mr Brewer to stay calm.

"I don't want to see him Tasered. The last thing I want is for it to get ugly. My advice to him is to walk away."

While Mr Brewer had offended a few people over the years, scores more loved talking to him and often picked him up when he was out walking along the roadside, his mate said.

"My heart goes out to him. You wouldn't be able to put him in a state house, it wouldn't suit him."

Mr Brewer concedes he is living on the Queen's Chain but says it is confiscated Maori land.

"I swear allegiance to this land, not the Queen of England," he said.

On Wednesday he would not be causing any problems for officials.

"I'm having a beer. I'll leave it up to the day. I'm not worried about it. It doesn't matter."

The thought of living in a state house instead of the beach did not appeal, he said.

The council said it initially advised Mr Brewer on March 6 that he was using the land without council permission and in so doing breaking the Reserves Act and the Public Places Bylaw 2008.

He was told if he did not comply by last Wednesday the council had the power to seize and impound the materials.

But when Wednesday came and went and the structure and Mr Brewer were still in place, he was handed a written direction to get rid of it by 3pm next Wednesday.

If he did not, the council would remove it, he could face prosecution and-or be issued with a trespass notice.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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