Wahine says unliveable conditions forced her to leave home owned by state agency

By Rukuwai Tipene-Allen

She is a well-known figure across Taranaki whānui.

However, the voice that welcomes the masses has found herself without a home. Pekaira Rei has been forced out of her home due to the unliveable and unhealthy state of her home. Land Information New Zeland is her landlord and Rei says it has done nothing to maintain the property. 

Mould, mildew and leaks are conditions she says she's lived with for the past five years and she's had enough. Rei says she's "been through stages of anger, of frustration." She also hopes that Land Information New Zealand "understand that this kind of behaviour from a governmental department isn't okay."

Come see it

The property is managed by Colliers and she says she has been told that it was still working on a solution. 

An upset Rei said:  "I would like to see a LINZ chief executive kanohi ki te kanohi and I would like him to come here and bring his family to my family home. So his family can see how their father or mother has allowed a family to live in such a state."

She can be found welcoming diplomats into the region, she has worked alongside the government in her role as a kaikaranga for the iwi taketake and has been nominated for a Wellingtonion of the year award for public service. That’s why it pains her that things have come to this for her and her whānau. 

LINZ deputy chief executive Crown property Jerome Sheppard says the agency has a Healthy Homes programme underway to ensure all of its properties are compliant with standards ahead of the compliance timeframe.

Access a challenge

"We are keen to make progress as we have been having discussions with Ms Rei about work that needs to be done at the property for some time.

"A Healthy Homes Assessment was done on this property on June 18, 2020, and a condition assessment was completed on September 30, 2020.

"The assessments showed a lot of work needs to be done to the house to get it up to a Healthy Home standard. This includes replacing the roof.

"Repairs needed at the property also includes fixing damage from leaks under the washing machine and refrigerator.

"Our contractors tried to install new heating at the property in September but access for the tradespeople was a challenge.

"These access issues and contractor availability has meant that work on the property hasn’t been able to be completed as fast as we would have liked.

'Prioritise'

"We have scheduled work to fix the issues to bring it up to Healthy Homes standards."

Rei says these issues must be prioritised especially as government "so clearly and proudly state" in its housing initiatives.

Rei says her daughter and grandson have moved to a family home in Whanganui where they can be safe. She said her daughter has suffered from the condition of the house. 
LINZ said in a statement that the property doesn’t need to be vacant for the work to be completed.

"We acknowledge this is a challenging situation for Ms Rei and also for the contractors trying to get this work completed as soon as possible."

LINZ has said it will contact Rei to discuss the matter further.