Friday, 25th, March, 2011. We were woken up very early in the morn, the sound of children running and screaming, doors opening and closing. MJ knocked loudly on our door. Sarah opened it testily “hay bro are you going out today?” “Yes” I replied groggily. “We are going out now” he said. Sarah slammed the door in his face. When they had all gone we got up, tired from only a few hours sleep we emerged into the kitchen. There was a plate of grizzly boney meat in the kitchen, heaps of dirty plates and glasses, bottles and bongs littered around and a rough smell of old meat and spices. Even if we had been brave enough to get some breakfast we couldn’t, they had taken the key to the shed so we couldn’t get to the fridge.
We took as much of our unpacked luggage as we could carry and walked to the house Maggie was staying at, Maggie’s land ladies ex husband had a room free which was near, we trusted this because Maggie had stayed at his house before and she said he was a good person. This was enough for me. We met Mauris at Maggie’s house and he took us to his big house. It was clean and quiet. We put our bags in a room “sorry guys I have to go out we have a rugby party today. Make yourself at home” and he was off. I felt like giving him a hug and thanking him.
After we had moved we went back down to Te puke and to the police station, I wanted to check if MJ refused to give us our money back if we could do anything about it. The kind woman at the police station said she didn’t know but that we should go to the community help centre to find out. We walked there and the front desk woman said she also didn’t know. “If you didn’t get anything signed then you haven’t got a leg to stand on, it’s an unfortunate situation” one of the women in the waiting room piped in. We were given the number of Tenancy NZ which dealt with rent and housing issues and knew the ins and outs of the law. I called them up and talked to a man about our predicament “does your room have a lock?” was one of his first questions, the answer was no “then we cannot help you unfortunately, we deal in property leases, this in when your renting the exclusive rights to a room or property, if it doesn’t have a lock then you are a guest and it is another matter altogether, let me give you the number of the community law centre” the man said. The man on the phone was very sympathetic like the people in the community centre and the police station but they weren’t giving me the information I needed.
We had planned to go to Mt Mounganui today to snorkel, so Maggie Sarah and I got on the bus and as we drove there the heavens opened. When we arrived at the mountain it was still raining and the wind was high, I was determined to get in the sea and try and get some abalone or other things for the pot. I put on my flippers and mask and snorkel and headed out to sea, the waves were big and constant, surfs slicing past me on the foamy waves. I got a good few mouthfuls of sea water, I had forgotten exactly how vile it tastes. I got out to a little rocky cove and began diving a bit but the water was so tumultuous and cloudy I could barely see my hand in front of my face also more worryingly I felt myself being pulled powerfully out to sea. I gave up and began to make the exhausting journey back to shore, I kept looking at my surroundings in relation to the rocks and I was making little or no progress. I was so tired. Eventually after body surfing back on the waves I got back to shore and had a rest. I made another few expeditions but with no catch at all, it was too cloudy. I knew I was in the wrong place, the man I had met in the super market had told me to go around the island to the challen area which was safer but we didn’t have enough time before the bus came back so we left mt mounganui seafoodless. The sea was wild and the rain was cold, the sky was gray and underwater nothing to be seen.
On the bus journey back I called the community law centre, they said that it was an unfortunate situation but unless we had something signed then there was nothing we could do, it was unethical to rent out a room but it was a private agreement, even if we had something signed we could just go to the small claims court and even then they didn’t really advise it at all. I suddenly didn’t care anymore, I just wanted to get the remained of our things from MJs and leave that awful place, I didn’t care about the money. Over this day I have been in confusion as to how I feel. Going from anger and hatred, thinking that I will demand my money back to feeling weary and disinterested just wishing it all to be over as soon as possible.
When we got back to Te puke Sarah and I bought a pen and paper and wrote up a contract stating that we had given MJ rent and 100 dollars deposit and that when we left we would have the 100 dollars returned. We didn’t have much hope about the rest of the rent but at least if he signed this we would have a little power. We walked home and I felt so nerves, when have unpleasant situations like this, being horrible, getting angry or anything like that, it’s something I try and avoid like the plague. I called my guardian angel to me and I felt calmer and safe.
Before we went back into the house I turned my mobile phones video camera on and kept it in my hand at an angle which would hopefully catch whatever happened and if we had the urge to take this to court maybe it would make things easier. MJ signed the paper and then I lost my bottle, he was in his living room, his family and many other friends sitting bored and languid. I left the room and asked Sarah for help. She went and called MJ in to the hall way. As he came in I remembered the times I have been in a situation like this when I have been annoyed when someone has taken liberties with me, I almost always back down and don’t get angry and I always regret it, thinking after with remorse all the clever things I could and should have said.
MJ came through the door and I suddenly became confident again I told him that the last two days had been unacceptable and loud, he began to interrupt and say “bro, it’s…” I towered over him and raised my voice “I am tired and pissed off; I am talking so let me finish. We are leaving now and there is no discussion, I expect my deposit back and the rent which we haven’t used up yet” he agreed to give the deposit back but not the rent. Sarah flew in and began shouting and telling him to shut up, all communication broke down then and the volume and the ‘you stop talking and let me finish” flew around. We told him to get our deposit and he drove off in his car to get it from the bank.
I felt so good, I had at least tried to stand up to him and at least we had got our deposit back. We called Fan and he picked us up in his car and we loaded our heavy back packs into his car. Fan has helped us so much with lifts, taking us to look at places to stay and being a friend. MJ came back and thrust the 100 dollars back into my hand “we have talked to a lawyer and we are going to take you to the small claims court, you should expect a phone call” Sarah told him. “Ok that’s fine” he said coolly but I could tell he was worried. “See you later MJ” I said as we got in the car and he back into his. We won’t bother with calling a lawyer but it was satisfying to see MJ looking worried.
The elation of it all being over was immense, we went back to our new home and relaxed, I still felt tired and wasted but so relieved also we had a full day of work the next day so I was looking forward to getting some money as our funds are rapidly draining away.