Topics: Christmas, Housing

Tauranga homeless receive gifts from good samaritan

By Mānia Clarke
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

A Tauranga woman has parcelled over 150 gift packs to give to homeless whānau living in emergency accommodation. 

Bringing some joy and comfort to homeless whānau this Christmas is at the forefront for Angela Redwood.

“If somebody was taken out of their house at a moment notice [one would hope] that they had the basic essentials, a change of clothes, some pyjamas, and a towel so you can have a shower, blanket so you can cuddle and feel safe and go to sleep,” she said.

But for many it's a struggle.

One dad said he hadn’t had a Christmas present in ages, since he was a child, but was very happy and thankful to receive a gift pack.

“The most rewarding thing for me was to actually see the effect that it had on an individual person,” says Redwood, “What I found really humbling and really touching was adults that were on the verge of tears just over something as simple as a little bag.”

And going into Christmas the Waiariki electorate has identified 400 people who won't even have that luxury.

But MP Tamati Coffey would like to see that change.

“Our plan is to build more houses.  It's what we campaigned on, it's what I'm going to do,” says Coffey.

“But the first step is to actually talk to our Minister of Housing which is what I've done to really find out what the problem is.”

In the meantime, Te Tuinga Whānau is hitting the frontline to try and eliminate homelessness.

“We get a bigger buzz as much as the people that we are helping.  Just watching a lady who is struggling to do what she does, encourages us to do what we do,” says Te Tuinga Whānau Director Tommy Wilson.

“I just wanted to be a guiding light to say 'look it is possible, you can get through this',” says Redwood. “Life does turn around.”

And for this good samaritan, it's the little things that count.

"It doesn't take a lot to make a huge difference in someone's life," says Redwood.