Last year South Auckland Marae, Te Puea came to the rescue of almost 200 homeless people including 104 children. This week they've reopened their doors to the vulnerable and homeless during the winter.
Members of Te Puea Marae were preparing for another intake. Chairman Hurimoana Dennis believes that the problem has not gone away.
Dennis, “In some cases, it's probably gotten worse. Most of the whānau who have been impacted really badly, are our whānau.”
This week Te Puea opened their doors again for the second winter and will continue on until December. In its first year, they did not know what to expect. This time around, they are more prepared.
“What I did pick up last year is that the notion that families were living in a car, or a van in our country, in Aotearoa, in 2016, was absolutely unacceptable. Unacceptable from the point of view that this just doesn't happen here in our country.”
The South Auckland based Marae has been given assistance by the government to the sum of $125,000. Much of that cost will go towards the upkeep of their cabins on-site, which will see up to five families taken in at a time.
“There is some kōhā pūtea (donations) to support the families coming in here, some kai. There's also some kōhā pūtea for our social workers who are here as well.”
Te Puea Marae are nominees in the Hiwa i te Rangi Community category at the 2017 Matariki Awards. They're up against Rick Houghton from He Korowai Trust, and broadcaster Mike King.
“They're mentors for us as well. Being inside of that category with them, well that's a teitei (achievement) for us automatically. We're very happy to be acknowledged for anything, we're not excepting that bro, and we just get about our business.”
The efforts made by Te Puea Marae are huge. Tonight the three finalists will be recognised at the Matariki Awards, but tomorrow will be another day helping more families.