A major urban regeneration project was launched at Tamaki College in Auckland on Tuesday behind locked gates with a police guard.
The Tamaki Redevelopment Company is a joint venture by the Auckland Council and the Government aimed at transforming the area covering Glen Innes, Panmure and Point England where nearly half of the housing is State rental.
The security was prompted by a noisy protest from a state-house tenant group upset at the removal of rental properties in the neighbouring area of Glen Innes North.
The company plans to upgrade or replace hundreds of state houses and work with health and education agencies to improve the quality of life of residents in the area over the next 25 years.
Mayor Len Brown and Housing Minister Phil Heatley on Tuesday signed a heads of agreement for the project.