TAHUA 2018: Kaumātua caring for their uri

By Tema Hemi

Grandparents on a benefit raising grandchildren will get a helping hand in this budget with $104.9mil going towards a clothing allowance. But one grandmother says the help has come too late.

Eti Wynyard, a great-grandmother and full-time caregiver to her great-grandchildren, says, "Its hard but I do persevere- most of all I ask that fella up there for guidance".

Caring for mokopuna comes at a huge cost to this beneficiary..

Wynyard says, "How I do it- I buy one article at a time.  It might be the shoes today I won't get the shoes until I get the money and then I get the socks and then I pay that off. That's how I do it, that's the only way I can do it".

And a helping hand has come at the right time. Wynyard says, "I'd be grateful for it, to even have a little bit of it, you know, just to see me through.  I'm not asking for much but just a little to carry me through and Ill be grateful for it".

Its help which has come too late for one great-grandmother.  She cared for 7 great-grandchildren who have all left home, but the money is still going to the wrong place.

Hariata Samuels, a grandmother who has experienced the difficulties of caregiving for her grandchildren says, "The funding goes to the government departments and to whoever else, that's where the bulk of the funding goes.  What about the kids, what about the grandparents. It is so difficult for them to care for their children".

Keeping mokopuna out of state care comes at a huge personal sacrifice but its a cost these grandparents are willing to pay.