As part of the Whakapiki Ora project, Manurewa Marae has opened its doors to those families in need of emergency accommodation.
The Marae will provide overnight shelter (Pō Mārie) Monday to Thursday. The 12-week initiative will be launched today.
Families wanting to access the emergency shelter will need to go through a registration process. People are able to register into the Marae at 81 Finlayson Avenue from 9.30am to 2pm.
The Pō Mārie will be for whānau first and other members of the community will be welcomed when space is available. If space allows, registrations for individuals will be taken between 1pm and 2pm each day the shelter is operating.
The Pō Mārie service will not operate when the marae is required for a tangihanga.
Manurewa Marae board member Rangi McLean says the marae community has been working hard over the past few months to get the right infrastructure and support in place before opening.
He says, “When Te Puea Marae in Mangere put the call out for other marae to help, we knew we had to get involved.
We have been able to take some of the processes and lessons from Te Puea and build them into our Whakapiki Ora project. We know opening our marae is the right thing to do. There is still a real need out there with people sleeping in cars or rough in these freezing conditions. Now with Te Puea closing we want to also help people from there that may still need it.”
Manurewa Marae Chief Executive Lorraine Byers says while they already have more than 200 volunteers to support the programme they are still looking for more.
“We have been astounded by how our community has come together to help make this happen but given the logistics and scale of opening our wharenui for four nights a week, the need for more people will be ongoing. We are also working with government agencies to offer a range of support services and seminars for those who stay and would welcome more help here as well.
Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi, engari he toa takatini…success is not the work of one, but the work of many.”
With the support of funding from government agencies, Manurewa Marae has been able to implement another part of the Whakapiki Ora project offering five families access to cabins sited on the marae where the whānau can stay until appropriate housing is found.
The marae has also started a Givealittle page, to help fund the Whakapiki Ora service.