The closing karakia ceremony for the Manaaki Tangata homeless programme is about to get underway in the next few hours. More than 80 families have been assisted over the last 3 months. For a Samoan whānau, the wait for a home is finally over.
Setu Malaki and Veve Toluono are over the moon that they and their two children will finally have a new home.
"We never knew it would be this quick. We go housing New Zealand, everywhere, it takes about 2, 3 years, but over here it was you know just like that, like just within a week,” says Toluono.
For nearly two years, the family of four had lived in Setu's mother's home where more than 15 people lived.
“We were living in a garage, half of the garage hate storage in it and half of it just our bed and we had to stack our stuff elsewhere. We had no electricity no power running through there so I we had to like buy candles every week as our light,” says Toluono.
Since opening their doors three weeks ago, six families have been given housing accommodation through Whakapiki Ora.
Manurewa marae spokesperson Rangi McLean says, “We're happy because the care for the homeless continues. Summer is nearly here and winter is ending. With that, I want to acknowledge Te Puea Marae who is closing their doors today. Our elders, staff and some of the families will attend their closing ceremony in support of their local marae.”
Toluono says, “My kids have been wanting to get their own place in ages, give them the freedom to do what they want to do, and it will also give them an opportunity to like do their homework, cause you know when you're living in a crowded place, they can't really do homework.”
The family will move into their Housing NZ home on September 15.