Free event reduces financial stress for low income whānau

By Jessica Tyson

Keeping the tamariki entertained over the school holidays can be financially stressful for parents, but one free family event in Auckland is helping to relieve some of that burden.

The four-day Funfest event attracts whānau from all around Aotearoa because it doesn't require parents to fork out so much money, says site manager Doug Te Moni.

“Normally when you go to an event of this size, whether it’s a festival or a big show, there’s transport, money for kai, there’s the entry fee," he says.

“You’ve actually got to pay another fee just for the rides so our whole kaupapa here is to remove those barriers.”

Natasha McConnell and daughter. Source: Māori TV

Māmā of three, Natasha McConnell says bringing the kids is “easier on the pocket”.

“Especially over the school holidays when it can get very expensive to entertain the kids," she says.

“I live in Kaitaia actually but I come down here for work, so this is a good opportunity to bring the kids because there’s nothing like this in Kaitaia.”

She says taking children to events during the school holidays can be very expensive for parents.

“You end up not doing much, just hang around at home because the budget doesn’t accommodate for that. So it’s really cool having events like this.”

Whānau at Funfest. Source: Māori TV

Te Moni says without Funfest, some families wouldn't have an opportunity to come together because they can’t afford it.

“I met one whānau earlier today who actually hadn’t seen each other as a whānau in about four years. They just agreed over their social media, over texts and phone calls ' Let's get together for the first day of Funfest," he says.

“So when you hear stories like that it really makes a difference for us. That’s the payoff for us is to be able to say ‘Yup, that was our kaupapa’ and to hear those stories means we’ve achieved it.”

Funfest will be held at the Vodafone Events Centre in Manukau from January 10 to 13.