Hoani Waititi Marae under-resourced to tackle homelessness says manager

By Harata Brown

The Manager of Hoani Waititi Marae Shane White says they are housing a homeless man in their mattress room.

Although the Henderson marae usually doesn't cater to those who need a home, Mr. White says they do what they can to support them.

Hoani Waititi Marae has been a bastion for urban Maori living in Auckland. Manager Shane White says at times their marae workers provide shelter for those in need.

Mr White says, “That's what we do and it's not as if we have the resources, mandate or housing to do so, yet we still take some home and to our shelters like Te Ahi Kaa.  Perhaps three whānau have stayed with us this year.” 

He says ideally they would like to provide shelter and assistance for homeless families but says it's unrealistic due to the nature of the programmes they run.

"We never close, so we cannot open our ancestral home as a sleeping base for those in need. Although some workers support those in need in their own homes, here at the marae we have a school, a Kōhanga reo and kapa haka. We don't have the time to do that." 

Last week members of the public donated kai to the marae to help those in need.

Mr. White says, “We know some people who live under harsh circumstances. We have a person sleeping in our mattress room. Our workers and social workers however took the (food) to those in the community who are living under difficult situations. Some have houses but have no food in their cupboards." 

Furthermore, Mr White says the marae will be cooking a hāngi to support the homeless next week.