A Melbourne based Māori Volunteer support group are alarmed at the increasing number of homeless Māori they are helping in the city.
Melbourne Tautoko Whānau Inc (MTW) Committee Chair, Maria Kumar says, “We go out and feed the homeless on a fortnightly basis, and we do a bi-monthly full day on a Saturday in St Kilda, it's a very low economic area where a lot of our Māori and Pacific Island are living.”
The group was established two-years-ago by Patrick Davidson of Ngāti Kahungungu who lives in Melbourne. Since then, they've had an increasing number of homeless Māori in the area.
"It's mostly to do with the 2001 legislation. If you're a kiwi or Māori in Australia if you lose your job or you get sick, you can't get help from the government," says Davidson.
MTW have a pantry to provide kai to needy families, and they also feed the homeless community with hot/cold meals & snack packs on a fortnightly basis in Melbourne’s CBD (Enterprise Park).
Kumar says their organisation receives no financial assistance, but operate through food and furnishing donations from others.
She says they get at least 112 referrals per month for homelessness, financial assistance for food, relief employment pathways courses and referrals to mainstream services eligible to New Zealanders.
Top NZ Chef Erueti Tutaki, who is renowned for his volunteer work feeding children in South Auckland through “Feed the Need” for the last five years, is in Melbourne helping to feed the 90,000 homeless there.
The group's long term goal is to purchase their own premise, so they can better help those in need.