Elderly Parakai campground residents told to get out

Residents at an Auckland campground have been told they have six months to leave, despite many of them calling Parakai home for more than a decade.

It was illegal to have permanent residents at the campground, Te Poari o Kaipātiki ki Kaipara board chair Margaret Kawharu said.

Ownership of the Kaipātiki public reserve, formerly the Parakai Recreation Reserve, changed after the Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara Treaty settlement in 2013.

But for the 20 residents - who are mainly elderly - that call it home, moving was not realistic, they said.

"Do we live on the street? Where?" 78-year-old widow Marion Carpenter said.

Ms Carpenter has lived at the campground for 13 years after selling her two-bedroom unit.

"Our understanding when we came into these properties is you're semi-permanent," she said.

She said she was told it would be okay "as long as you go away for a week or the weekend every so often", which is what they did.

Ms Carpenter said she received $800 a fortnight from her pension and paid $200 a fortnight for rent and utilities.

"Standard rental properties we've got to pay minimum $350 [to] $400 a week. Where's a pensioner going to get that from?"

Ms Kawharu said she understood the distress the residents were going through, but under the Reserves Act it was illegal for them to live there.

"We're trying to be responsible and responsive."

The board had connected the residents with the local Work and Income office and Housing New Zealand, she said. But that was little solace to the residents, Ms Carpenter said.

"It's depressing. I mean, at my age you think you're settled for life, but then all of a sudden, no.

"You're hit with a lightning strike. What the hell do you do? Where do you go?"

Ms Kawharu said she would raise the concerns of housing to the Auckland Council and the Minister for Social Development.

The council's general manager of arts, community and events, Graham Bodman, said the board was independent and was complying with the legislation.

"Auckland Council shares Te Poari o Kaipātiki ki Kaipara's concern for the wellbeing of the residents as they work through a process of finding alternative accommodation, and we are pleased that Te Poari will continue to offer support to the residents throughout this process," he said.

The residents have until January 31, 2019 to find a new place to live.