Te Puea helps find homes for needy

By Talisa Kupenga
  • Auckland

Nine families have now been placed into homes since Te Puea marae opened its doors. 

During the past week the marae has helped 18 whānau, providing beds, meals, clothing and support to those in need.

Marae spokesperson Hurimoana Dennis says “close to 18 people and family groups have come for help, nine of this group we have helped into homes or access suitable warm accommodation. Now, we have about nine people here.”

The public have been donating goods.

"This list here is the food donations. We do at least ten to 12 pages a day of donations,” volunteer Jackie Paki says.

An electricity company has also come forward to help.

"We are so grateful Flick have offered to pay our electricity bills for the next three months, Dennis says. “It is such a big help."

The marae gates will now be closed to the public and media from 5pm each day. The reason being those still on the streets are too embarrassed to come forward and be filmed seeking help.

Dennis says "the reason is because they are very shy, that being said some are getting annoyed at the media being nosy about their situations, so our approach is to protect their privacy while they are staying here with us at Te Puea."

At night the Māori Wardens venture out to take bulk packages to those still sleeping in cars.

"We're making say about thirty a day,” head cook Mona Kingi says.

Those who have found accommodation since staying here are helping too.

Dennis says “some of those who have since stayed here are cooking meals for others in need. I think that’s a good thing because they understand the struggle.”

The public can take donations to the marae from Wednesday through to Friday before 5pm. Outside these times, Dennis says to get in touch first to make arrangements to ensure respect for those staying here.