Families gather in the hundreds for Christmas Feast

By Mare Haimona-Riki

William Maihi (Ngāpuhi) and his children were one of the hundreds of families that gathered at "The Cloud" in Auckland today. The event aims to bring Christmas cheer, companionship, entertainment, koha and kai for those that may otherwise miss out.

Maihi brought along his two daughters, his son, four nieces and two nephews to the event that started at 11:30 am this morning.

"We all deserve it, all our kids, look at them smiling, heaps of chocolate, heaps of kai. Different people, but so what? That's us! Ngā hau ē wha!

 William Maihi and his whānau. Source / File

Entertainment was provided to the 1,600 people that attended the festival, hosted by the Auckland City Mission.

CEO Chris Farrelly says that Christmas Day should be a joyous occasion for everyone, regardless of financial circumstances.

"We have the sense that all New Zealanders, should enjoy the essentials, and that's essential housing and food and to experience the joy of special occasions and Christmas is one of them, especially children."

300 kg of ham, 1,600 chicken drumsticks, and 300 kg of potatoes were served at the event. Source / File

For Auckland City Mission worker, Takahi Kara (Waikato) this is an annual tradition that he likes to come to, by himself. 

"I usually come on my own, coz I used to help with the mission. 

"I think they will be so glad that they have somewhere to come and have a kai, and to meet other people."

This is the 99th year the Mission has hosted this event.

Judging by the countless number of smiling faces; a success it was.