Community housing trust apologises for ripping up Christchurch woman's prize-winning vegetable garden

Destroyed garden.
Zhang Wang's landlord has apologised for the situation. Photo credit: Stuff/

A community housing trust plans to make things right with a woman after ripping up her large, prize-winning vege garden.

Stuff earlier reported the move followed neighbour complaints about the size of 80-year-old Zhang Wang's plot - at a social housing unit in the suburb of Addington. 

The Ōtautahi Community Housing Trust (ŌCHT), which runs the housing units, has since revealed a breakdown in communication meant Wang was not informed the digger would come to remove the plot this week, so she couldn't save her plants.

ŌCHT operation manager Martin Pearce is apologising for upsetting Wang and plans to install raised beds in an area they've agreed can be used for her vegetables.

"The Ōtautahi Community Housing Trust does not always get things right," he said in a statement. "It's a situation we regret.

"We're very sorry Mrs Wang was not told that the change she agreed to, relating to her garden area, was taking place this week."

Prior to the apology, a petition was launched urging the ŌCHT to replace Wang's garden - attracting more than 3000 signatures. 

"They should have given her notice, the neighbours should have spoken to her directly and it's a bit hypocritical to give an award then rip up her garden! She could have saved plants but with no notice, it's very wrong," one commenter on the petition said.

"This woman needs her garden back," another wrote. "Gardening provides multiple health and well-being benefits!"

Pearce said ŌCHT wanted to make things right and after speaking with Wang, they've decided to install raised beds as compensation.

"We will start the work first thing tomorrow," he said on Wednesday. "The Trust will pay for all remediation expenses.

"Once again, we apologise for the upset that has been caused to Mrs Wang."

He said a review of how the incident happened has taken place, which found a lack of communication.

"There is a robust communication process in place that on this occasion was not followed.

"We have spoken with those involved in the communication breakdown they greatly regret their error."