Marion Carpenter, 78, has lived in the caravan she calls home for 13 years.
Now she’s been told she’s in the way and has to leave to make way for tourists.
Carpenter and 16 residents live permanently at the Parakai Recreation Reserve caravan park, north-west Auckland.
But the park is being given a makeover to make it a more attractive tourist destination, meaning Carpenter and her neighbours can’t live there anymore.
The caravan residents have been given until January 31, 2019 to leave because they are living there illegally.
“It’s just completely shocking,” Carpenter said.
“Many of us here are old and alone. How do they expect to find a new home and move out within six months?”
The reserve is being transformed over the next five years into a geothermal reserve tourist destination with gardens and temporary holiday accommodation.
Te Poari o Kaipātiki ki Kaipara managed the reserve and were pushing to revitalise the area.
Chairwoman Margaret Kawharu said semi-permanent residency at the camping ground was illegal.
Kahwaru said the caravan residents have known about the plans since 2017, and several discussions had been held with residents since then.
However, Carpenter said they were initially told they had at least three years to move out.
“The last meeting they told us we had six months to move out, take our caravans and leave this place how it was when we first moved in.”
Roy Ayers, 88, who had lived at the park for four years, said he didn’t know if he could find a new home by January.
“I’d have to sell my caravan and all my belongings, but I doubt it would be easy to find a home fit for a pensioner at this time.”
The close-knit residents help each other out with cooking and keep an eye on each other, residents said.
Allen, 73, who had lived at the site for 17 years, said he was at a complete loss of his options.
“My campervan is too old to move, I can’t drive nor do I have a car – where do I even begin?
“I’m too old to be packing up my things and moving to a place.”
Kawharu said semi-permanent residence at a reserve was illegal under the Reserves Act 1977.
A six-month timeline was given to help the residents find alternative housing for the future, she said.
“Te Poari o Kaipātiki ki Kaipara liaised with the campground semi-permanent residents throughout the development of our plan last year and after its adoption in October 2017,” Kawharu said.
Auckland Council community and events general manager Graham Bodman said council respected the decision made by Te Poari o Kaipātiki ki Kaipara.
They had taken a measured and caring approach to the wellbeing of the camper ground residents, Bodman said.