Street's future hangs in the balance amid plan to demolish homes after flooding

3:59 pm on 8 March 2023
Pito Place resident Rahui Maru said she doesn’t plan to leave the street she’s called home for the past 18 years with her husband and grandson. STEPHEN FORBES/STUFF

Pito Place resident Rahui Maru. Photo: STUFF / Stephen Forbes

Plans by Kāinga Ora to redevelop a Māngere street decimated in the Auckland Anniversary weekend floods does not appear to be going down too well with some of the affected residents.

The state housing agency announced on Wednesday it was looking at demolishing 19 homes in Māngere's Pito Place.

The street backs onto Te Ararata Creek, which rises rapidly during storms and flooded many of the homes on 27 and 28 January.

In a statement, Kāinga Ora deputy chief executive for Auckland and Northland Caroline Butterworth said it had now contacted affected families to discuss rehousing them.

"After assessing the damage and looking at long-term plans for redevelopment, we have decided repairing many of these homes is not a viable option," she said.

Butterworth said many of the houses had already been earmarked by Kāinga Ora for future redevelopment and demolishing them now "may bring forward those plans".

But she said it still had to assess what happened in Pito Place during the floods and what the future use of the land would be.

Te Ararata Creek in south Auckland's Māngere which flooded many of the homes in Pito Place during Auckland Anniversary Weekend. STEPHEN FORBES/STUFF

Te Ararata Creek rises rapidly during storms and flooded many homes on January 27 and 28. Photo: STUFF / Stephen Forbes

"We're going to take the time needed to make well-informed decisions, including looking at how we might redevelop to provide improved housing solutions with greater resilience to future flooding events," she said.

But Pito Place resident Rahui Maru said she did not plan to leave the street she had called home for the past 18 years with her husband and grandson, despite an offer from Kāinga Ora to relocate the family.

The 78-year-old superannuant's property was not red or yellow-stickered after the devastating flooding on Auckland Anniversary weekend.

"The flood waters came up to my steps," Maru said.

"But the water didn't actually come into our house," she said.

"Kāinga Ora came and told us they want us to move. But I don't want to. I like living here, it's nice and peaceful, I love it here."

She said she understood the agency was keen to demolish her home, even though it had not been condemned.

Her neighbour, Popa Soi'Soi, said he was still waiting to hear more from Kāinga Ora about what it planned to do. Like Maru, the home he lives in was not red or yellow-stickered.

The 23-year-old steel worker has lived in the house with his mother for almost 10 years and said Kāinga Ora had told the pair they had three months to move and had offered to rehouse them.

"But we still don't really know what's happening," he said.

According to Kāinga Ora, the Auckland Anniversary weekend floods caused damage to more than 590 of its properties in the Auckland region.

It was revealed last month that some of the housing agency's residents were continuing to live in flood-damaged homes as it was struggling to meet the demand for homes.

But it said while more than half of those homes could still be lived in while repairs were carried out, it had offered to rehouse about 250 customers and their whānau.

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