First of homeless families arrive at Te Puea Marae

By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

A new support programme called Manaaki Tangata has been established by Te Puea Marae to provide relief, support, and comfort to those whanau who are homeless.  Marae spokesperson Hurimoana Dennis says they aim to bring some immediate short-term relief to Auckland's most needy.

Te Puea Marae's doors are open for Auckland's homeless families like Tony and his whānau.

“We've found ourselves without a house so, we're just, we're just trying to seek some support, we've got our name on the housing list and that, but it's still a waiting game,’ says Tony LePage.

The aim of Manaaki Tangata is to provide immediate short-term relief to homeless families over the difficult winter period. The marae will continue as usual to accommodate funerals and hui.

Dennis says, “The Manaaki Tangata programme will take place in the area behind the kitchen. There are offices, an eating area, beds, and rooms.”

Warm winter clothing for adults and children, non-perishable food, blankets, cash donations and temporary accommodation for immediate short-term placements. These are just some of the resources the marae is asking for and willing givers are heeding the call.

Te Aroha Alec Hawke from Ngāti Whātua told Te Kāea, “Today is the 35th anniversary of the eviction at Bastion Point. I remember Te Puea helping us back then, so when we saw the Facebook page we immediately thought that we could offer blankets, whatever we could gather.”

In a statement to Te Kāea, the Regional Commissioner for Social Development Blair McKenzie says, "We understand that they are working on developing how this assistance will look. At this early stage, we will continue to work with them to determine what financial support Work and Income can provide."

Health worker Kaanga Skipper says, “Te Puea is here with us in spirit. If I'm being true to my upbringing, I can feel her saying, ‘Take care of the people."

The marae will continue to help until they are no longer needed.