Kāinga Ora orders elderly man into 'unsuitable' housing

Vandhna Bhan
Source: 1News

An elderly man and established political activist, displaced after a tornado ripped through his Kāinga Ora home, was told on Thursday to leave his emergency hotel accommodation.

The eviction has forced him into a property that he says doesn’t meet his needs, while he waits for repairs on his former abode.

On June 9 a tornado tore into Te Ringa Mangu Mihaka’s home leaving a hole in the ceiling and roof tiles loose. Now, almost two months later, part of the roof and ceiling have collapsed leaving a gaping hole causing immense water damage.

READ MORE: Whakatāne man in disbelief over being moved by Kāinga Ora again

“The guy upstairs, he don’t like me, you know what I mean,” says Mihaka, a known political activist.

Mihaka’s carer Katherine Raue took 1News inside the property where the carpet was soaked with water puddles, insulation debris scattered the room and mould could be seen growing on the furniture.

“The chair is completely ruined and is never going to be usable again, that’s mould growing on it. He needs a special chair to help him stand up so that’s got to be replaced,” says Raue.

His electric bed from the hospital was also visibly soaked and damaged.

“They’ve damaged our property, Mr Mihaka’s property, and the property belonging to caregivers, they’ve damaged hospital property that he vitally needs for his disability.

“I’m absolutely shocked. I cannot believe anybody would allow a property to deteriorate to this degree,” says Raue.

The house is one of the few Kāinga Ora homes accessible to wheelchairs.

When 1News visited the property workers could be seen hauling wreckage from the damaged home.

Raue noted this was the first time she had seen any workmen have been on the site.

“Basically what they’ve done is they’ve replaced the tarpaulin finally after 2 months with one that doesn’t leak”.

Since June 9 Mihaka and his carer have been living at the Raumati Sands Resort in Paraparaumu. On Thursday Kāinga Ora ordered them to leave to make way for another booking.

The Crown agency told 1News in a statement “we have a fully furnished and appropriate Kāinga Ora home ready for him to move into today.”

But Raue says the flat offered to them is “entirely unsuitable”.

“You can’t get his walker in it and turn it around let alone any of his larger equipment like his wheelchair,” she says.

According to emails obtained by 1News, a doctor agreed that the new temporary accommodation was not suitable.

In the emails, the doctor informed Kāinga Ora that he had examined Mihaka on July 27, this, combined with the information provided “by the patient and his carer Ms Raue, at the current time Mr Mihaka would not be safe to be re-housed at to a proposed Kāinga Ora address in Paraparaumu."

The doctor continues to explain in the email that “Mr Mihaka has significant mobility issues” and that the doctor would “support an extension of Mr Mihaka's current housing arrangement until such a time as a recommendation from Mr Mihaka's Occupational Therapist can be obtained”.

Kāinga Ora told 1News they offered to put Mihaka’s items into storage but that this offer was never taken up.

They admit that “work to start the roof repairs should have started sooner."

"We apologise to Mr Mihaka for any damage caused to his belongings. We’ll continue to work with him via his whānau to reimburse him for his personal belongings damaged as a result of the event.”