"Absolutely marvellous" - wheelchair-bound HNZ tenant reacts to housing news

By Heta Gardiner

Sarndra Tamepo, whose living situation was broadcast exclusively on Te Ao Māori News, may be getting a more suitable home a lot sooner than expected.  

Tamepo's leg was amputated last year, leaving her wheelchair-bound.  She is also visually impaired as a result of diabetes.

Her condition meant she had to leave her state house and find a more suitable address. 

Tamepo claims the practice supervisor for the community occupational therapist attached to Auckland City Hospital put her in a home with no ramps, leaving her unable to leave her house for six weeks, immediately raising alarm bells for the 54-year-old.

“My next most obvious question was, 'what happens if there is a fire?' And she said, her words, quote, ‘In the unlikely event of a fire, you will have to throw yourself out of a chair and crawl outside’”.

Te Ao Māori news ran the story on Tamepo’s plight on Wednesday evening and by Thursday morning Housing New Zealand had called Tamepo, saying that there were two houses available for her to view. 

If both Tamepo and the occupational therapist assigned to the case deem the houses to be acceptable, she says she could be moving in as early as next week.  

“By this time next week I could be moving from here to an accessible place. I think that’s fantastic, that’s absolutely marvellous. What else can you say really?” says Tamepo.

Tamepo also believes, even if neither of the houses viewed next week are suitable for her needs, that she is now being heard.

“The process that we’re following now is the one that should have been happening before they put me in this place, this time they’re including me in the decision-making around if these properties are suitable, or accessible even”.