Tāmaki Tenancy Manger trading bright lights for lifestyle with alpacas

25 JUN, 2019

Tāmaki Housing tenancy manager Alison Manuel is trading the bright lights of Auckland for a lifestyle block full of alpacas.
The Panmure local is retiring to Taupō with Ken, her husband of 43 years, to be nearer their daughter and granddaughter who already live in the central North Island town.
She spent six years as a tenancy manager at the Housing New Zealand office in Glen Innes, before moving to Tāmaki Housing in 2016.
Being a tenancy manager is a far cry from previous jobs she held in Shrewsbury, England, where Alison worked in pharmacies and at the Shropshire City Council, meeting the likes of Prince Edward and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
However, Alison, who moved to New Zealand 11 years ago, says she has largely enjoyed the tenancy management role during her time with both organisations. “I like problem solving. If someone is in the wrong house, we’ve got to get them moved to get it right. I like the fact you can have a positive outcome on some things.”
One of her proudest moments was rehousing elderly Panmure couple David and Elizabeth Lowndes when a new apartment became available.

“I wanted to get them out of the old, damp house they were in. The good thing about Tāmaki Housing is you can make recommendations about where people can move. It’s nice to be able to do that in Tāmaki.” Most tenants only require a visit during house inspections, she says. “Some tenants are just lovely and give you Christmas presents or fruit and veges that they’ve grown.”
However, like all jobs there are challenges. Helping tenants who speak English as a second language requires patience, which is when other Tāmaki Housing tenancy managers who are bi-lingual are called in to help. There are also tenants who have personal difficulties, which can be tough to deal with, Alison says. “Sometimes you have to ask ‘what’s going on? Are you not coping?” Most of all, she will miss her colleagues at Tāmaki Housing. “They are a very good team. If you’re away on holiday or sick they will pick up the slack.” And she’s got no doubt they will miss her baking, with lemon slice and coconut cake two of her specialities. However, she’s has no regrets about deciding to retire. “We have bought a lifestyle block in Taupō with a dog and three alpacas, ready to put on there. In some ways it’s sad to leave, but I’ve come to the point we’re I’ve always worked, even when
my daughter was a baby. You have to make that decision to retire at some point, or they carry you out in a box.”
Tāmaki Housing Panmure area manager Peter Lauina says Alison will be sorely missed, having embraced the Tāmaki philosophy after transitioning from Housing NZ.