The iwi that owns the Eastcliffe Retirement Village in Auckland fears it may not be able to recover the multi-million dollar cost of repairing serious building faults discovered there.
Inspections have revealed structural and fire protection failings in a vacated block.
Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Whai Rawa has decided to evacuate 34 of the village's 160 residents from five other blocks, built by the same construction company, as a precaution.
The trust's director Ngarimu Blair said fixing the problems would leave the iwi with a multi-million dollar bill - and it did not have many ways to get recourse from the building company involved.
"We have had a look at that in the past, we're doing some more investigation to see if there is any recourse.
"I don't think anyone [of builders involved in the construction] from that time exists anymore."
Mr Blair said the priority at the moment was moving the residents.