Hunt family get home

GEORGINA STYLIANOU AND OLIVIA CARVILLE
Last updated 05:00 11/12/2013
Nellie Hunt and John Beattie
Iain McGregor

THRILLED: Nellie Hunt accepts keys to a new home from landlord John Beattie.

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Nellie Hunt showed off the keys to her new home with tears in her eyes.

After two nights in a tent in Waltham Park, Nellie Hunt and her three children, aged 16, 11, and 9, will today move into their new home.

"I am just so relieved," she told The Press last night.

"This has showed me that there are people out there who are generous and don't want to see a working mum in this situation."

The family will move to a rental property on York St – just around the corner from the home they were in previously – thanks to "a really amazing man and landlord".

John Beattie has offered the three-bedroom property for $300 a week and did not ask Hunt to pay a bond.

"The house needs some work but I don't care, it's ours," Hunt said.

The city Council yesterday offered Hunt a four-bedroom home in the central city. She was about to accept when Beattie showed up at Waltham Park.

"I want to stay in this area. My kids want to stay in Waltham because it's a community and they have friends here."

Hunt will go back to work at a local bakery tonight after spending the day packing up the tent, cleaning her new home and moving.

Her 16-year-old daughter, Mahara, planned to get a job to help out.

Hunt was overwhelmed by the help her family had received since The Press published a story about the family's plight on Monday.

Hunt said Sam's Storage and Removals had stored the family's belongings and would drop them off free of charge.

A woman approached Hunt in the park yesterday evening to drop off food before putting some money in Hunt's hand and kissing her on the cheek.

"Stick in there. It's hard being a mother," the stranger said.

Through tears Hunt said: "I used to think that this country had changed and people were mean, but they're not. The people in Christchurch are the opposite and I can't thank them enough."

The Press can reveal Hunt was taken to the tenancy tribunal by her previous landlord when her rent increased by $40 a week and she missed $700 of rent payments.

When the adjudicator saw the state of Hunt's house, including the yellow-stickered lounge with holes in the roof, the case was sent back to mediation.

A few days later, Hunt was served with a 90-day notice to vacate because the landlord was planning to sell the property. Her rent was reduced to the original $220 a week until she left.

Hunt fought her eviction in the tribunal and was awarded $4000 against the landlord, $700 of which was returned to the landlord.

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