Of 1000 Christmas boxes distributed to whānau throughout Northland this last, only one had a golden ticket. Te Kāea was on hand to witness the lucky recipients of the box with the extra special gift that went to the Johnstone whānau.
Liza Johnstone says, "Awesome, its a blessing! Christmas, hey, you know- everyone needs an awhi (help) every now and again, aye."
Robert Johnstone says, "This is beautiful! This is a big surprise! Me and the mokos (grandchildren) get another fridge. You couldn't wish for anything better as a good Christmas present."
Randomly chosen, eleven members of the Johnstone whānau all live at their home in Kaikohe. Winning the golden ticket will allow them to claim a Haier fridge valued at $800.
Johnstone says, "You know there are eight mokos we have in our house so whatever freezer space we have, well. it's been a blessing. Yep, one of the highlights of our year anyway and I know the mokos are wrapped, they attacked those goodies pretty well so (laughs) there'll be nothing left for Christmas."
Northland is part of the Christmas Box project by Te Rau Matatini which takes place in six regions across New Zealand with the aim to alleviate some of the pressure felt by families during the holiday season.
Of Ngāti Pakau and Te Māhurehure, Eddie Morunga hails from Taheke Marae and took on the role of delivering the boxes to the mid-North and Hokianga districts, "It is getting bigger! It's the first time it's come this side of Whangarei I believe and, yeah, I can only hope it comes back next year."
Although Te Kāea was only reporting on the project, we received hugs and thanks from some very grateful mokopuna of the Johnstone whanau who wished us a Merry Christmas.
Robert Johnstone says, "I want to say a big thanks to them and my heart goes out to them. And oh I'm a happy fella and my mokos are all happy and the wife with the golden ticket."