New research about homeless programme at Te Puea Marae

By Jessica Tyson

Research around Te Puea Marae and its work to address homelessness is set to be released for the first time at a symposium tomorrow. 

Over the past year, researchers from the Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities National Science Challenge has been working with the marae to develop the Te Manaaki Tāngata E Rua programme.

The research aims to better understand why Manaaki Tāngata E Rua is so successful at supporting whānau Māori who are homeless using tikanga Māori.

Te Puea Marae Chairman Hurimoana Dennis says, “the research has now put a presentable face to the homeless problem.”

The project is co-led by Unitec Institute of Technology's Rau Hoskins and University of Waikato Associate Professor Jenny-Lee Morgan.

"We have the ability to study what works in our Māori communities, says Hoskins.

"This is the brink of a breakthrough for urban homelessness."

By conducting interviews with people staying at the marae, researchers have observed how the programme is applied.

"The ancient practice of manaakitanga is at the heart of the marae-based intervention. It is part of the DNA of Te Puea Memorial Marae that seeks to provide a cultural landscape of care," says Morgan.

The researchers say they will continue to conduct interviews and collect data following the symposium.

"What's exciting is we're beginning to understand why tikanga Māori works to help people feel loved, warm and supported," says Hoskins.

"With a formula, it could help develop a universal framework for the benefit of all."