Yesterday, the landowners were granted orders by the High Court which declared the lease to end prematurely. A permanent injunction against Youth with a Mission to vacate the Takitumu land was also served.
Land agent Travis Moore said the orders were effective immediately due to unpaid commercial lease rent which amounted to $358,250.
The land was originally leased from landowners Sam Apera and Uraiata Taero in 1974 for a term of 60 years. The land is almost one hectare and built on it is two houses and the big two story Mission building.
Youth with a Mission leaders first received an eviction notice in December last year and again in February this year. Yesterday they said they had no idea about the back rent they were owing. They could not afford to pay the rent and made negotiations to surrender parts of the land to compensate for the rent owed.
However, Moore said those talks did not bear fruit.
The land now has 14 owners from the Crummer family and four of whom, who are on the island, were to meet last night to discuss the orders and find a way forward that would be sympathetic to Youth with a Mission.
Mission leaders Volley Tangiataua, who is originally from Mangaia and his wife Pamela Sue, said they were shocked to find out about the back rent. They took over the Mission last year.
“We did not know WYAM had a debt, we had no clue,” said Sue.
Tangiataua said the Mission properties on the land were valued at $2.2 million. He said they had thought they could sell the 35-year lease and property to pay back the rent and have a little left over to find a new ministry centre.
“It’s not right, that we don’t get anything from these buildings,” said Tangiataua.
Tangiataua doesn’t mind giving the land back to the owners, he is only worried about their work with nowhere to go.
They are still going to carry on reaching out to youth and the community.
Over the years, Youth with a Mission has provided a safe place for people and they have focused on helping youth who have been deterred by drugs. In the past they have also provided temporary housing for victims of domestic violence.
Tangiataua said they were prepared to leave the land and hoped they find another place to start again soon.