Stressed mother: 'It's too much for me'

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Ashley Wharehinga and her 2-year-old daughter Raiha Wharehinga-Rahurahu. Photo/Stephen Parker

By Kelly Makiha

When Ashley Wharehinga lies down with her little girl on a mattress on the floor to go to bed, she tries to shush her to be quiet.

But the nearly 2-year-old is "going through a sookie phase" and is grizzling a lot, which her mother puts down to their unsettled lifestyle during the past two months of being homeless in Rotorua.

Wharehinga is conscious her daughter's cries will keep her 9-year-old niece awake, who sleeps in a bed just metres away.

They are sharing the little girl's bedroom because they can't find anywhere to live.

The 26-year-old has applied for more than 30 houses and has been to more than 10 viewings since she, her daughter, Raiha Wharehinga-Rahurahu, and Wharehinga's parents were forced to move out of their rental house on January 25 because it was being sold.

Ashley Wharehinga and her 2-year-old daughter Raiha Wharehinga-Rahurahu. Photo/Stephen Parker
Ashley Wharehinga and her 2-year-old daughter Raiha Wharehinga-Rahurahu. Photo/Stephen Parker

Every day Wharehinga walks or catches a bus into town to start the same process over again - looking for properties, filling out forms, ringing rental agencies, ringing landlords, arranging viewing times and viewing properties - only to get phone calls to say "sorry, they are already taken" or "sorry, you've missed out".

Continued below.

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"It's stressing me out. It's too much for me. Every day I have so much to do just to try and find us a house to live."

Wharehinga, who is on a sole parent benefit, said she had good references and she was a "clean freak". She said her father had a full-time job so between them they had good money to meet rent.

She said her cousin, who was expecting a baby, had allowed her and her daughter to stay with them while they looked for a house, but she never imagined it would take this long.

"I know they want their space back and I really do feel like we are imposing. I have to apologise every day and every night I see them.

"I feel for my niece. Her room is tiny and she needs all the sleep she can get but my baby is being a real sookie at the moment and when she gets to bed she's hoha [cries] and doesn't want to sleep. She's grizzling a lot and is unsettled. I lie down with her to try and keep her quiet. I just wish she could have her own room."

She said her social worker told her they were technically homeless so sent them to see Gina and Elma Peiffer at Love Soup to get their rental CV in order.

"It made me feel real stink knowing we were actually homeless. I just want this to be over because I can't relax."

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22 Comments

Dezamay

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01:01 pm Wednesday 22 March 2017
I feel ya! In the same boat right now, I've been looking for a house to rent for 2 months now, landlords are selling their homes in my area due to the council increasing the value of houses (a good time to sell) which means current tenants have to move when the house is sold, I'm living in my mothers 3 bedroom house, mum has her room, my sister in the other and my 3 kids ( 9, 8, 7 years) share the last room. I'm currently sleeping in the garage with the spiders.
Hope you find a place to live, good luck.

djr18fan

- Bay of Plenty
01:01 pm Wednesday 22 March 2017
It's Australia's fault. Their economy is performing worse than ours so there are far fewer kiwi's moving to Australia, compounded by kiwi's coming back from Australia. This reversal of the usual pattern is causing our population to increase at a higher rate than normal. Immigration from everywhere else is not that much different to any other year.

Joe B

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01:01 pm Wednesday 22 March 2017
Shelter and education is a basic human right and one that we have been proud of in NZ, it is disappointing, how will these children grow up if they have no suitable shelter? We are going to have BIG issues with these children who will soon become adults in our society, what a failure of us NZ. Overseas buyers should only ever been able to trade commercial real estate not houses. We need to look ahead now and solve the issues we now face, problem with this is politicians are really only concerned with obtaining the popular vote and this will never create change, we need to be thinking 20 years down the track not 3, three years is a popularity contest. There was a book written in the 1970's called the "passionless people" it is a depressing read but goes someway in explaining Aotearoa and its settlers mentality which is still ingrained.

Fred Couples NZ

- New South Wales
01:01 pm Wednesday 22 March 2017
Affordable housing a massive issue. I'm a European who lives in Sydney - same issue here believe me. People in this lady's situation should be given a state house. People who wreck a state house should have a 10 year stand down period.

paul

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08:18 pm Tuesday 21 March 2017
The problem is not just simply Immigration. Its a combination of many issues, including, the supply of land, compliance costs, tax breaks and advantages of owing rental properties over other investments.

Runaway property prices and rent now means accommodation supplements and other housing allowances cost nearly us, the tax payer nearly 3 billion dollars in the past year alone. I think this figure alone says we clearly have a problem.

Random Comment

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06:24 pm Tuesday 21 March 2017
We all want immigration or the government to take the accountability, but some ordinary people need to! Eg Why is the real estate hugely 'encouraging' immigrates to spend more to buy where they could help them to learn about the real house price here?

S. Te Papa

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06:23 pm Tuesday 21 March 2017
As an immigrant who came here 12 years ago and worked hard to by her own house I get a bit fed up when people in my local area sit on their bums all day moaning about immigrants taking all the houses. It took hard work and lifestyle sacrifices to buy.

petite kiwi

- New Zealand
04:28 pm Tuesday 21 March 2017
Could your iwi help you financially? Would like to think the TOW payments were being used to help everyday maori in such situations. Local marae? Good luck to you.

paul

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03:44 pm Tuesday 21 March 2017
National have done nothing to address what has now become a absolute night mare and mess for so many. It was obvious 10 years ago, that this major problem was looming. I am told hundreds are now being housed in motels alone in Rotorua, not to mention the massive numbers living in both garages and portable sleep outs that popped up across town. Come the end of this year, poor Bill English will pay the price for his Government sitting on the fence doing absolutely nothing. Ps never voted Labour in my life

AMSOP

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03:44 pm Tuesday 21 March 2017
This lady has the means to support her child with her fathers help, the issue here is not enough housing,not whether she should or should not have a child. If you read it properly she is technically homeless due to the property she was renting being sold - not because she was unable to meet her rent.

Joseph

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03:44 pm Tuesday 21 March 2017
I'm sure the iwi wish they could but I'm not sure where iwi would find a house. Isn't the issue the number of people showing up to view and apply for homes - they are all equally able to afford and look after a home just supply does not meet demand

MKeen

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03:43 pm Tuesday 21 March 2017
"Auckland has a water problem because infrastructure has not been upgraded to meet the demands,"

No, we don't have a water problem for that reason. Capacity can accommodate far, far higher demand.

Jodana

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02:27 pm Tuesday 21 March 2017
We all feel this way, I share a room with my 8 going on 9 year old daughter with a household of 7 other people who are not related to me. Getting our own peace and quiet is very hard and don't get it offend. I work full time and trying to find a house that I can afford is unbelievable.
Hope you get a positive outcome

genie

- New Zealand
02:27 pm Tuesday 21 March 2017
Welcome to the brave new world the government(s) has brought upon us all. Unless this madness with immigration and real estate speculations stop altogether until it is all sorted, we all face quite bleak future. Unfortunately, there is not a shed of will to stop it from the powers that be.

-
02:27 pm Tuesday 21 March 2017
I agree there are too many immigrants coming off the plane and straight into a nz state house and a benefit yet the very people that were born here can't even find a roof to put over their heads. Why are we allowing this to happen.
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