A new initiative by Waikato man Brad Totorewa, called Koha Māi Tō Hūtu, is asking people to donate their old or unused suits to help Waikato elders attain an appropriate standard of attire on the marae.
However, despite the positive intent, the idea is receiving some negative feedback.
Totorewa says, “I know some people are holding on to their old suits and they're sitting there unused and gathering dust.”
He says the idea is receiving an overwhelmingly positive reaction with a number of donations being made.
“Businesses, undertakers, families who have lost loved ones, they're all gifting they're suits to this initiative,” says Totorewa.
The idea came about during the recent Kingitanga coronation anniversary where Totorewa was in charge of managing the Waikato speakers.
“If we're sitting on the paepae, the attire must be of a fine standard. How will the elders without the means, those who are on the benefit, how will they purchase a suit in this day and age?” says Totorewa.
Despite the idea's basis in generosity and charity, Totorewa says it has received some criticism saying it's perpetuating a form of colonial oppression.
“For our elders to be wearing traditionally weaved cloaks and capes, that's fine, maybe in due course. At this stage the focus is on suits,” says Totorewa.
There are four drop-off centres: Rangiriri, Hamilton, Huntly and Takanini (South Auckland).
Totorewa says the aim is to clothe all of the elders within Waikato, any surplus will be gifted to other tribes.
See the following details for drop-offs
204 Great South Rd, Takanini, South Auckland
Txt 0273106682 to arrange the drop-off
161 Massey Street, Dinsdale
12 Rangiriri Rd
Raahui Pokeka (Huntly)
71 Rotowaro Rd
Txt 027 510 8962 to arrange the drop-off