With only one week until Christmas, traditionally a time for whānau to celebrate and to wind down, some whānau will experience Christmas as a time of hard ache and hardship.
Te Hau Awhiowhio Trust chief executive Martin Kaipo predicts stress levels for whānau will be at an all-time high, especially for those who are short of money and those who are looking for an affordable place to stay.
This year has definitely had a fair share of challenges and has left some whānau in disarray, he says. If it's not the traumatic effects after Covid-19, then it's the financial pressure, if it's not the financial pressure it's the lack of stability that some whānau would have after a gruelling and tough year.
Kaipo says in terms of hardship and struggle, this year was nothing but that and the hardship was at an all-time high. "For some, it would be a celebration wrapping up 2020, and for others, it would be finding means and alternatives to get by and survive during the summertime."
Finding a place to call home will be one of the biggest challenges for some this Christmas such as whether or not they'll have any food, whether they'll be welcomed back to whānau land and whether there will be some family violence because of stress levels.
A major concern for services such as Te Hau Awhiowhio trust in Otangarei is the welfare of children during this summer break. "This so-called clean, green New Zealand society has now turned in to a society of homeless, children in poverty. They will be drifting, in terms of finding them a place and, as they are travelling, it's okay for adults to be dragging their children around so there is no stability for them."
Kaipo encourages people to be considerate to those who are less fortunate. "Having to sacrifice one thing over the other- it's usually the bills or the food or the enjoyment of being somewhere as a family, so it comes with a cost. Trying to find the necessities to make it enjoyable and to make it possible so their family members their children can have some kind of joy."
Kaipo hopes for a better year next year, especially for those whānau struggling to come out of hardship and into the light,