Christchurch homeless offered tents on Colombo St to stay dry could now be evicted as freedom campers

Abraham Neho has been keeping dry in a tent on Colombo St, Christchurch.
GEORGE HEARD/FAIRFAX NZ

Abraham Neho has been keeping dry in a tent on Colombo St, Christchurch.

Some of Christchurch's homeless have pitched tents to keep dry as they live by central city shop frontages.

But the people doing it could find themselves evicted under the same laws which prohibit freedom camping in central Christchurch.

Tepi Amohia and Abraham Neho have been in the same spot on Colombo St for "two or three months".

Set out from the path and on council property, some are convinced the tents are entirely legal.
GEORGE HEARD/FAIRFAX NZ

Set out from the path and on council property, some are convinced the tents are entirely legal.

But on Friday, after ex-Cyclone Cook brought heavy rainfall to the city, the pair were given a tent.

READ MORE:
Funding dries up for homeless advocates in Christchurch
Christchurch man gets house after 31 years living on the streets
Tougher rules for shipping containers and tiny homes in Christchurch
Unhappy neighbours complain over former homeless man Tepi Amohia
Former homeless man Tepi Amohia immortalised in portrait

"They were in a place where it was raining and everything [their possessions] got drenched," Collective for the Homeless coordinator Brenda Lowe-Johnson said.

Tepi Amohia, drinking an energy drink, says his experience makes him "like a matua" to the many young on the streets.
GEORGE HEARD/FAIRFAX NZ

Tepi Amohia, drinking an energy drink, says his experience makes him "like a matua" to the many young on the streets.

Lowe-Johnson, who had worked with Amohia in the past and was involved with him getting his first home in 31 years, had been spending time with the men over Easter weekend.

The advocate for homeless people, who is also a member of the Linwood-Central-Heathcote Community Board, was adamant that "this is council land . . . it is legal".

But Taylor Shaw Barristers and Solicitors partner Ingrid Taylor said the council's Freedom Camping Bylaw 2015 could mean they had to move.

Neho, with his teddy, has few possessions, with just blankets and bedding in the tent.
GEORGE HEARD/FAIRFAX NZ

Neho, with his teddy, has few possessions, with just blankets and bedding in the tent.

"Unless you were self-contained and you had toilets and at least three days water . . . then it's banned in the central city area," Taylor said.

Ad Feedback

"It would be different if they were in a van that contained all of that."

Both Amohia and Neho had been on the streets for many years before Amohia got his home in 2016.

He had since been evicted and was planning on staying on Colombo St until he was able to find another home.

"When I was in my house I ended up taking a lot of streeties in the house," Amohia said.

"It didn't work out, so I ended up getting booted out and came back out here."

Lowe-Johnson said it was Amohia looking out for other "streeties" that lost him the home.

"He felt guilty about having a house and them not having one, because they're all brothers."

A gas cooker, pots of cooked food and bottles of water sat near the tents when Stuff visited the site over the weekend. Amohia's dog, Sasha, had a bowl full of biscuits.

Amohia said he was "like a matua" to many of the younger homeless in the area and they "come see me and get a decent feed".

The group said most people did not mind them being there. The tents did not obstruct the path and Amohia maintained he did not ask people for money.

"Back in the days we used to go around asking for money.

"Now that we've got a bit older, we're not asking for money. We've got signs. I just sit there and don't ask for nothing."

People stopped and gave coins and cigarettes to Amohia while Stuff was there. A man handing out religious pamphlets stopped to give him a hot cross bun.

But another took issue with Amohia and Neho's presence on the street.

The man, carrying a guitar case and portable amplifier, stopped to first ask if he could buy a cigarette from Amohia before giving his views.

"I've been working really hard down there playing music . . . I'm just here for a couple of days. I'm not going to be living on the street, I just find it curious.

"I just found it incredible that a man could sit here for two months and beg in the heart of the city."

After arguing with Lowe-Johnson, the man eventually continued walking along Colombo St.

Lowe-Johnson said she and Councillor Deon Swiggs spent a night on the street in early April.

"There's nothing wrong with these guys, they're human beings.

"They haven't had it easy . . . They just need some people who will care for them, and they get a lot of care around here too."

Amohia said any money they were given on the streets was spent on food, not alcohol or drugs.

"The people that give money, it's the poor – not the rich."

The Christchurch City Council was unavailable to comment over the long weekend.

Comments have been closed. 

 - Stuff

Comments

Ad Feedback
special offers
Auckland

Real estate agent loses appeal

Aaron Drever needs to wait five years before he can reapply for his licence.

A west Aucklander has lost a High Court appeal to get his real estate agent licence back.

Changes to New Lynn roadworks

15082017 Photo: John Kirk-Anderson/Stuff

Roadworks on the intersection of Fitzgerald Ave and Worcester Street.

Auckland contractors complete first stage of culvert work on flood-damaged intersection.

Ambo travels 1200km for patient

A special ambulance was driven from Auckland to Christchurch to carry a patient weighing more than 300 kilograms. (File ...

A special ambulance was driven more than 1200km to carry a patient weighing more than 320 kilograms.

'Business as usual' soon video

Energy Minister Judith Collins says Auckland airport's fuel crisis is coming to end.

Wellington

Prestigious Hutt home gallery

The former Upper Hutt home of one of New Zealand's most distinctive residential architects, James Chapman-Taylor, is on ...

Celebrated Lower Hutt architect's home back on market.

Families 'not coping'

In May 2017, there was an average of six months between initial contact and follow up appointments for youth accessing ...

Teens seeking non-urgent mental health appointment would have to wait at least eight weeks.

NZR tackles homophobia video

New Zealand Rugby boss, Steve Tew, wants to create an inclusive environment where players can openly "express their ...

There's never been an openly gay All Black, but that could change with NZR's more inclusive attitude, says Steve Tew.

Man on fire dies

Cordons were set up around Parliament after the incident.

The man who reportedly set himself on fire outside Parliament has died overnight, police say.

Canterbury

What's with the giant spray cans?

Some of the cans will be used for workshops and for young street artists to practise.

The 4.5 metre-high cans are part of a new space coming to central Christchurch.

Ram raid car theft video

Corrie Dewagt, Panel shop foreman at Andrews & Gilmore Panel & Paint looks down at broken pieces of a gate. A Nissan ...

Thieves smashed way into a panel beater's and took a Nissan Skyline GTR.

Ambo travels 1200km for patient

A special ambulance was driven from Auckland to Christchurch to carry a patient weighing more than 300 kilograms. (File ...

A special ambulance was driven more than 1200km to carry a patient weighing more than 320 kilograms.

Toddler's disappearance baffles

Amber-Lee Cruickshank, pictured age one, went missing on October 17, 1992.

Police travelled to Aussie outback for answers about what happened to Amber-Lee Cruickshank.

Waikato

Mack cheats death, again video

Sharla Pearce was terrified her dog would die after falling down a Waikato River bank. Fire rescue came and rescued Mack ...

After surviving death row, a "goofball" pooch found himself in another spot of trouble.

Footbridge a priority

A footbridge across the Waikato River could connect central Hamilton to Parana Park and Memorial Park. Pictured is an ...

There's a push for more work on plans for a pedestrian bridge to link central Hamilton and Parana Park.

Killer highway's $6m salve

Two people were killed on SH3 between 2005 and 2014.

Rumble strips, side barriers and intersection improvements on the way for SH3.

A year's rain in 9 months

Waikato residents have been forced to find shelter where they can over the past nine months (file photo)

Rainfall records tumble as Waikato wades through wettest year ever.

Taranaki

The 'downhill slide'

11092017 News Photo ANDY JACKSON/STUFF.  The Ticking Timebomb, a series looking at the rising issues of Alzheimers ...

He's forgotten how to peel potatoes but fears forgetting his children most.

Armed cops in street

Firefighters don hazmat suits at the scene on Turakina St.

Officers who entered a suspected clandestine lab have been put through a decontamination shower.

Home stretch awaits Hareb

Paige Hareb is looking to make her presence felt in her final two events of the year.

She's been in contention all year, now the Kiwi surfer knows it's time to lock in her qualification to the world tour.

Dementia: a love story video

11092017 News Photo ANDY JACKSON/STUFF.  The Ticking Timebomb, a series looking at the rising issues of alzheimers ...

Tom Matiaha's 24 years as a soldier could not prepare him for his family's battle against a hidden foe: Alzheimer's disease.

Manawatu

Car and train collide

The scene of the crash at Ohau, where a motorist died when their car collided with a northbound train.

A car driver died after a crash with a train on State Highway 1, south of Levin.

Car catches fire

The car caught fire on Napier Rd, just out of Palmerston North.

Smoke was seen coming out from under the bonnet moments before the car caught fire.

No more snooping

Horowhenua mayor Michael Feyen refused to vote on a new email blocking policy.

The Horowhenua District Council is changing the way it screens emails.

83-year-old dies in crash

A car and a truck crashed at an intersection in Levin.

The man died on Monday after his car collided with a truck in Levin.

Nelson

Makos legend back in the fold

Robbie Malneek last played for the Tasman Makos during the 2015 Mitre 10 Cup season.

Robbie Malneek, the only player to reach 100 caps for the Tasman Makos, has been handed an unlikely recall.

Car-free summer

Kerry and Garry Ford of Ford's restaurant and bar in upper Trafalgar Street, which will become a pedestrian zone over ...

The top of Nelson's Trafalgar St is going to be traffic free for four months this summer.

New SHAs approved

12072017 NEWS PHOTO MARTIN DERUYTER/ STUFF

The former Green Grocer Store on the corner of Grove St and Tasman St in The ...

Seven new SHAs approved by the Nelson City Council including a tiny house project.

Bugged by litter bugs

Ali Lawley and her son Charlie Calderbank, aged 10, on Franklyn St next to Nelson College.

Braemar Eco village residents want littering outside Nelson College to stop

Marlborough

Environment judge called in

Leachate run-off and ponding from grape marc dump sites in Marlborough. (File pic)

A prominent winemaker and a new company he is linked to - dubbed the "complete solution" to grape marc - are to be dealt with by the Environment Court.

'Stupid thing to do'

Blenheim District Court.

A man has admitted shooting out a window at the health hub in the central business district.

Police called to polling booth

Kaikōura Labour candidate Janette Walker delivering pamphlets at Dillons Point Rd, in Blenheim, earlier this week.

"He wanted my details. I gave him about half of them," says Kaikōura candidate as she refuses to leave.

Leap in rateable values

New capital values across Marlborough show a big increase for Picton properties. (File pic)

Some properties have seen their capital value incease by a whopping 28 per cent.

South Canterbury

Timaru's next tourism attraction?

In May a High Court Judge ruled the Rangatira be sold to pay off more than $170,000 owed to PrimePort.

Fisherman hopes community will save ship with Hollywood connection from the scrap heap.

Building on King visit

Mike King speaks to Timaru Girls' High pupils in July. The health board is looking to build on the momentum created by ...

SCDHB looks to build on ties with mental health sector as a result of Mike King's visit.

Time to spring forward

Butcher Jim Bower's early mornings will be even darker and busier when Daylight Saving kicks in on Sunday.

Dust off the barbecue, it's time for long evenings as Daylight Savings starts.

Hatchery positive of salmon returns

Phil de Joux watches the salmon enter McKinnon Creek following incubation in July last year.

Volunteers of South Canterbury salmon hatchery hope for a better season.

Otago

Woman rescued, police thank app

A Christchurch woman was found on Ben Lomond, near Queenstown, about 12am on Friday.

"Initially we had no location and even slightly ambiguous communication," police say.

Budding booze baron busted

Richard Gray in the Dunedin District Court

A Dunedin man says he feels better after he was busted for selling home brew to two teens who later ended up in hospital.

Six-figure golden handshake

Aurora Energy boss Grady Cameron's exit package means he will make nearly $1 million in a year.

Otago lines company boss's 'excessive' exit package means he'll make nearly $1m this year.

Whale sounds wash over Dunedin

Caro McCaw, of Otago Polytechnic, listens to the recorded sounds of whales at an exhibition in Dunedin.

It'll be easy having a whale of time in Dunedin, just don't forget an umbrella.

Southland

Investigators baffled by child's disappearance

Amber-Lee Cruickshank, pictured age one, went missing on October 17, 1992.

Police travelled to the Australian outback looking for answers about what happened to toddler Amber-Lee Cruickshank 25 years ago.

70 years strong

John and Joan Welsh with their wedding day photo from 1947.

On September 22, John and Joan Welsh celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary.

Munro connection to boat

In May a High Court Judge ruled the Rangatira be sold to pay off more than $170,000 owed to PrimePort.

Fisherman hopes community will save ship with Hollywood connection from the scrap heap.

Trust announces it will seek review

Community Trust of Southland chair Margot Hishon

The Community Trust of Southland will seek a ministerial review into the circumstances surrounding the departure of its former chief executive. 

Ad Feedback