When Eileen passed away, Peter didn’t want to move from his New Brighton home.

His wife had grown up in the coastal Christchurch suburb. The pair had later lived in Blenheim, Marlborough, but needed social housing when they moved home in 1983, so contacted Kāinga Ora (then The Housing Corporation).

“She loved the sea and walking along the beach, so we were lucky enough to have the opportunity of a place there,” Peter, now 85 years old, said.

The Britannia St property would be their home for nearly 30 years. Peter had worked as a news photographer in Marlborough and had an interest in antiques, particularly chiming clocks. Eileen was a keen painter, but Parkinson’s disease later “took over”, Peter said. She passed in 2012.

“That was the point I didn’t want to leave Britannia St for. You’ve got your memories there, it’s part of you.”

Peter stayed in Britannia St another five years, but the property was large and maintaining the lawn a considerable job.

The home was up a long path and Peter was struggling to stay warm in the colder months.

It was 2017 when Kāinga Ora team member Chloe became Peter’s Tenancy Manager. The two got to know each other and Chloe could see Peter’s life and health could benefit from being in a new home.

“She sort of twisted my arm and said these new places were coming up, and she said I should move into one,” Peter said.

“I couldn’t face the thought of a shift, to hell with that – but then it was the easiest shift I’ve ever had.”

Chloe and other agencies helped organise the move and Peter was soon in his new warm, double-glazed unit, among several other Kāinga Ora homes for older customers.

She said she was thrilled to see how much Peter was thriving in and enjoying his home.

Chloe wanted to encourage others who might be in a similar situation to think about how moving to a smaller home might benefit them.

“Peter is such a lovely man and I’m so happy he agreed to move to a much more suitable home,” she said.

“I can only imagine how difficult it must be to move on from a place where so many great memories have been made, but seeing how well he is doing in his home makes it all worthwhile.”

Throughout the process, Chloe and Peter have also become close – the pair speak on the phone regularly, including to wish each other well on Christmas Day.

“All I can say is I think Chloe and her team are great,” Peter said.

“Chloe, as I’ve said to her, I’ve always regarded her more as family and a friend rather than a Housing Corp manager.”

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Page updated: 16 June 2021