Hana Koko's helpers at Seven days of Christmas

By Tumamao Harawira

Christmas for whānau in Aotearoa's poorest communities can be far from merry. In fact, for those struggling, Christmas is the most stressful time of the year. Luckily for those families, help is at hand with the Seven Days of Christmas campaign.

In conjunction with Ngā Whare Wātea, Manurewa and Papakura Marae, along with the Auckland City Mission, Seven Days of Christmas is about giving those in need a helping hand.

John Cameron from Ngā Whare Wātea says it's a massive undertaking. Ngā Whare Wātea is looking to help 1400 families over the seven days of Christmas.

"It's a hard time of year for those who are struggling at the moment. We want to be able to provide a Christmas they can remember."

"We're expecting in excess of 200 to 250 people on day one, and over the period of seven days, we're expecting around 200 each day."

Helping those in need has taken on an extra dimension. Since the arrival of Delta over the past couple of months, the need of those struggling to make ends meet has grown exponentially. Cameron says the global pandemic has meant those involved have had to re-think their strategies.

"With Covid-19 at the moment, we ordinarily would have used volunteers. However, because of Covid-19, we've responded by calling all our kaimahi back from their remote work."

Cameron says Ngā Whare Wātea is lucky to have support from several organisations, including staff and the many volunteers giving their time "who have been very generous plus the Tindall Foundation and a number of other funding partners".