Topic: Housing

Māori Good Samaritan inspires Romanian aid workers

By Mānia Clarke

Romanian aid workers are being inspired by the humanitarian work of Owen Pomana (Ngāti Kahungunu). Recently the good samaritan has been helping the homeless in the Middle East and now he's doing the same in Romania. Helping the homeless on the streets of Bucharest is a dream come true for Owen Pomana. 

“I'd heard of the challenges that people face here, especially the orphanages, and um, just horrendous stories that I've heard about poverty here in Romania,” said Pomana.

His actions are a much-needed boost for local Pastor Danut Capatan and his wife.

“I have to say in the last month or so I kind of struggled with work in the community, seeing so many needs around then, Owen came amongst us, actually the first night we met in this room I told him that he reached my heart,” said Pastor Capatan.

Cristina Capatan said, “It's like walking in the wilderness for a while being thirsty and needing a glass of water.  In life, you need people that stick with you every day and do the needy.  And there are other types of people you need in life, and those are the people that need to help you refresh for the moment.”

Since the Romanian Revolution 27 years ago, a new generation of homeless, are living on the streets and underground.  An estimated 6,000 living in the network of sewers and tunnels beneath the streets of Bucharest.

“I tell you what, when you've umm, when you've been to a place like I've just been to tonight, to have a look at say just one lady who has five children to look after, you've got no windows or a window on her house, it's starting to get cold, they've got no food, she's got no husband because he's in prison, and she has to dig for worms.  She works from 8 in the morning till 7 at night,” said Pomana.

Owen is keen to set up a food caravan to feed Auckland's homeless when he returns to NZ on the 12th of this month.