Rats are running amok in a Glen Innes neighborhood, chewing through linen, using drainpipes as links between houses and even biting one child on his ear.

One mother of three living in a Maybury St state home told the Weekend Herald her 9-year-old boy had called out to her in the night.

"He woke up crying, 'Mum, the rat bit my ear'," she said.

"I turned on the light and there were two little holes at the tip of the ear. And the blood."

The mother, who did not want to be named, spoke of the rats  increasing menace during the two years she has lived in the neighborhood.

All night - and often during the day - she could hear the rats knocking against the walls, running across the ceiling or scrabbling their way under the floor boards.

"I went in one day and my son was sitting on the couch eating," the woman said.

I sat down and heard the claws of the rat running down the back of the couch."

They found rats had chewed their way through the linen from her mother in a storage cupboard.

"The rats were in the kids' drawers," she said.

Pest exterminators have been to the house three times but the woman said there was no point unless the other three homes in the row of terraced houses were also done.

A spokesman for Housing NZ confirmed the tenant had made repeated contact over rats, starting in February.

"Since then we have carried out a number of jobs at her home to try to address the problem, including pest eradication and blocking up holes."

He said "due to the proximity of a creek and reserve, we acknowledge the potential for rat problems around our homes is genuine".

The housing provider planned to work with groups, including Auckland Council, to solve the problem.


EDITED FROM  David Fisher's article