A pensioner who resides in a former Māori Affairs property is about to be removed by court bailiffs. Reverend Miriama Solomon maintains that her home sits on Māori land and she is being harassed by Crown agency Land Information NZ.
Rev Solomon celebrated her 81st birthday only yesterday, but she's worried about the future of her home of 40 years. She says, “I wasn't suffering from anything. My problem is constant worry over my house, I haven't been treated well for some time.”
But Land Information NZ want to sell and Tenancy Tribunal eviction orders are to be enforced tomorrow.
"At the Tribunal hearing in Auckland, they called in over the phone. There was no discussions in person whatsoever," explains Rev Solomon.
Rev Solomon and her late husband secured their property lease through the former Māori Affairs department in 1975. In the original agreement, the property is set out for Māori Housing. Over time its ownership transferred from the Māori Affairs Department to Land Information NZ.
"Matiu Rata put me in here. At the time, he told me not to ever leave, no matter what. Now I have a fight on my hands because other parties want to evict me so they can have it for themselves," says Rev Solomon.
Property Managers Colliers International NZ Ltd declined to comment. However, in a written response from John Hook, Group Manager Crown Property, Land Information New Zealand (LINZ):
"This property transferred from the former Ministry of Māori Affairs to LINZ during the 1990s, after the Ministry decided it no longer needed the property for Māori housing purposes. In February 2014, LINZ decided to sell the property and began a process to terminate the current lease. Throughout this time we've been in regular contact with Mrs Solomon and her representative, and have given information to assist in the transition to a new home. Ultimately LINZ was compelled to take the matter to the Tenancy Tribunal, which gave an Order of Vacant Possession. This is the process that's currently underway."
Rev Solomon says, "My husband died here, none of my children want us to move. In fact, I still long for my husband."
For now, the Solomon family will brace themselves for tomorrow as Rev Solomon maintains that she will not be removed from her home.