Bargain comes with a catch
Living next door to Black Power headquarters may not be for everyone, but anyone who took the chance could snap up one of the cheapest houses on sale in Taranaki.
The house, at 23 A'Court St in Hawera, has been on the market since May last year and is listed to sell at the bargain price of $40,000.
The price tag makes it not only one of the most affordable properties in Taranaki but also one of the cheapest real estate finds anywhere in New Zealand, according to a recent search of the TradeMe website by the Taranaki Daily News.
The tidy two-bedroom house, listed by Harcourts and put up for sale by Housing New Zealand due to low demand for its services in Hawera, has just one major flaw.
It is right next door to the town's Black Power pad, which has been the gang's base for about 10 years.
And this could explain why it's been on the market so long.
Hawera Black Power spokesman Ngapari Nui says he could understand why this might put off people.
"It would be hard, I suppose," he said.
But he said people should not be fearful of the fact the gang would be their closest neighbour.
In fact, he said if their new neighbours had any problems, he and gang bosses would do what they could to help.
"They've got to feel comfortable," Mr Nui said.
He said the gang had attempted to be more open about their activities and recently welcomed a group of visiting academics into their pad to have a look around at the end of last year.
He said the property served as a home and a meeting place for its members.
He admitted parties did happen from time to time at their address and anyone who moved in next door would have to be prepared for that.
"We're never going to be saints," Mr Nui said.
Mr Nui said the gang had been trying to leave their bad-boy reputation behind in recent years. More than half of its membership now had jobs and were taking part in more socially acceptable activities, such as sport.
However, he said he was realistic about how the public still perceived them.
"Some people hate us and some like us," Mr Nui, who has been involved with Black Power for about 30 years, said.
He said their Hawera property was one of two they owned in Taranaki and was bought with the proceeds from the sale of the Black Power's old pad in Bell Block back in the 1980s.
Mr Nui said the club had thought about buying the neighbouring property themselves but at the moment they could not afford it.
"It's still in our mind," he said.
If they were to buy it, Mr Nui said it would likely be used as an investment and they would rent it out.
South Taranaki realtor Selwyn Metcalfe said as far as he was aware the property was the cheapest house on the Taranaki real estate market.
He said although the location of the home may be a reason for a lack of willing buyers, the long economic recession also had a part to play.
"Everyone is cautious with their money," he said.
He said in his experience, a noisy neighbourhood or one that had a lot of dogs put more people off buying in a particular area rather than any gang presence.
"In most cases they are very good to the neighbourhood," he said.
Mr Metcalfe said other options were also available to potential buyers, including removal of the house for use as a beach bach.
"It could turn into big money," he said.
WHAT $40,000 COULD BUY YOU
Floor area – 90 sqm Land area – 691 sqm
Two bedrooms, one bathroom
Capital value – $75,000 Land value – $33,000
Total rates – $2017.52
Rent appraisal – $130 per week
Taranaki Daily News