Secret Santa David Tua & Mayor Phil Goff back special South Akl present drop

By Taroi Black

More children will receive free gifts in South Auckland today as part of a Christmas Ōtara Present Drop project. Auckland Mayor Phil Goff was out supporting the initiative and says no level of child poverty is acceptable.

Mayor Goff told Te Kāea, “No level of child poverty is acceptable and I'm really pleased we've got a government that focussed on that making sure that every child can be part of our community and can achieve to their full potential. You can't do that if your living in cold or damp or you don't get the same opportunities in life.”

Mother of three, Wahineata Smith says she sees potential in these types of initiatives alongside local government.

“It's about doing the work. Attending these types of occasions will give him a picture of today's reality. Honestly, this is a huge effort. These volunteers give presents away to families struggling to make ends meet.”

Since Monday, Christmas Ōtara Present Drop has given away over four thousand presents to schools, early childhood centres like this one and kōhanga reo.

Organiser Puti Taufa says, “This is our last day giving presents away to schools, kōhanga reo and also mainstream schools.”

To top it off David Tua attended to support the cause dressed as the Secret Santa.

“Christmas was always beautiful for us. We didn't have much but you just have to be creative and make your own little fun. It's all about spending time with family and have a bit of fun,” says Tua.

Goff also says the next 20 years for local government is important to help Māori and Pasifika communities flourish and he says the move begins with this generation.