Topics: Housing, Te Arawa

Rotorua woman makes ponchos for homeless

By Mere McLean
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

Many homeless people will feel the warmth over the coming months because of the generosity of a Rotorua woman turning old blankets into ponchos.

Ngawhainga Kiriona-Winiata can make 17 ponchos in four hours.  She makes these ponchos for the homeless and rough sleepers.

“It's just myself making them at the moment.  I've put out panui to the community,  Are there any helpers out there that can sow?  We will provide blankets and give teaching lessons”. 

This is the second year that Ngawhainga has made ponchos for the homeless.

This year she has made 175 ponchos and her work doesn't go unnoticed.  Christina Moana a Māori Warden in Rotorua says, “Yes, we need a lot of people like that to help our people with things they need”.

Kiriona-Winiata says, “The blankets come from a few community members.  St Vincent de Paul have a relationship with them.  Community go to drop there blankets there and I pick them up from there”.

Ngawhainga Kiriona-Winiata is a trustee on the Pouhine Charitable Trust, which was established in 2001.

She has been helping the homeless and rough sleepers since then but says something needs to be done for them during the winter months.

“We need a night shelter.  I fear that if we don't have a night shelter then we are going to lose people,” says Kiriona-Winiata.

Ngawhainga operates in a small building down Huratai Street, Rotorua where the public can drop off any blankets.