What it's like to grow up in a boarding house

4:20 pm on 7 September 2017

First Person - Yesterday, RNZ reported on a family at a South Auckland boarding house who have given up hope of ever getting a state home.

Raymond Teinaki and his family have been living at Favona Lodge in Mangere for seven years.

He, his wife and his two teenage sons live in one bedroom and share shower and toilet facilities with other tenants. His 17-year-old daughter lives nearby, with her aunt.

Here, Mr Teinaki's sons write about what it's like growing up and living in a lodge.

Favona Lodge, where a double room costs $240 a week including bills.

Favona Lodge in Mangere. A double room costs $240 a week, including bills. Photo: RNZ / Eva Corlett

Son, 13

"The reason why we ended up living in a lodge was because my family couldn't get a state house from the government.

"My family and I have been living in a lodge for seven whole years. Living in a lodge is okay I guess. There are good and bads. We get to socialise with many different people of many cultures, and the owners are very kind.

"However, it's always the bad that outweighs the good. This being, having to share toilets and showers with other people. Also, the kitchen can get crowded sometimes which means we have to wait a while to cook dinner.

"As my brother and I are getting older, we want our own rooms away from our parents because it doesn't feel normal. Children at school wouldn't understand how hard it is at times. I never let anyone know that I stay in a lodge because it is embarrassing.

"We just want a house to be normal."

Son, 11

"I have experienced living in a lodge now for over seven years. It feels like forever.

"I don't know why the government doesn't build more homes or gives us a house to live in.

"I find living in a lodge bad because I would like my own privacy away from everyone. The good thing about living in a lodge is the people that come and go who are nice to me all the time.

"Me and my brother are the only children in our lodge right now and we are bored. All the other children have moved out and got given homes. We are still waiting for our house so we can live happily."

Update: After RNZ's story yesterday, Raymond Teinaki said he received a call from the Ministry of Social Development seeking to put him back on its social housing register. He had removed his family from the register after waiting five years for a state house. He will have a phone meeting with the ministry early next week.

Favona Lodge, where a double room costs $240 a week including bills.

The reception area at the lodge. Mr Teinaki's sons say they like that the owners and the other people at the lodge are kind to them. Photo: RNZ / Eva Corlett

Favona Lodge, where a double room costs $240 a week including bills.

An example of a room at the lodge, though not the family's room (which is larger). "Living in a lodge is okay I guess. There are good and bads ... However, it's always the bad that outweighs the good," one of Mr Teinaki's sons writes. Photo: RNZ / Eva Corlett

Favona Lodge

"The kitchen can get crowded sometimes which means we have to wait a while to cook dinner." Photo: RNZ / Eva Corlett

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