Māori in Perth too shy to ask for help

  • Australia

A project called Kiwis and Māori in Perth has been offering a helping hand to struggling Kiwis living in PerthArmed with 120 volunteers, 104 Christmas hampers and 190 presents, 120 volunteers from the Māori in Perth project today handed out 104 Christmas Hampers and 190 presents.

Co-founder of the project Freedom Patene (Ngapuhi, Taranaki) says just a few days ago she visited a mother and her five children,

All they had in the cupboard was a tomato, an apple and a can of baked beans.

““Most Māori are shy to ask for help, I received a call from a mother of five who declined our service because she didn’t have enough petrol to come pick up her donation, so I dropped it off to her the next morning,” says Patene.

Patene says Kiwis are finding it hard to get help and ending up on the streets “There are about 486 homeless kiwis in Perth, most are rangatahi and the youngest we’ve seen this month is 12-years old.”

Patene knows what it’s like to be homeless. In 2010 Patene and her husband ended up homeless and when they got back on their feet they decided to create a group to help the homeless.

“We don’t just help with food hampers and presents, we try and help them find employment, housing and sometimes a passport so they can return home to New Zealand,” says Patene.

Next year the project will work on providing a mobile bus that offers food, clothes, showers and haircuts for the homeless.