Te Puea Marae guests and volunteers celebrate Christmas

By Leah Te Whata
  • Auckland

Te Puea Marae Manaaki Tangata hosted the first Christmas at the Pā event this weekend in an effort by the marae to spread Christmas joy to struggling families living in South Auckland.

Christmas carols ring out at Te Puea Memorial Marae Manaaki Tangata, celebrating another year of supporting homeless families in South Auckland.

"It’s wonderful to see the positive energy amongst those who come to visit our marae. We’ve achieved so much this year and this is where they have the opportunity to fulfill their aspirations."

Christmas can be a difficult time for families living in poverty. Marae Chairman Hurimoana Dennis says the purpose of the event was to help struggling families feel the Christmas spirit.

Te Puea Marae volunteer told Te Kāea, "Most of our guests are homeless, so we invite them to come dine, dance and chat with us. That’s what we’re celebrating today."

Te Puea has provided support and accommodation to 14 homeless families since opening their doors in July. 10 of those families have now moved on to permanent homes and the remaining four families are still at the marae.

"I commend those who continue to give to our families impacted by hard times. If marae make an effort to help the people, the people will help the marae. It’s remarkable to see this attribute in this day and age."

Dennis says that the marae will remain open to homeless families throughout the festive season, right through to the New Year.