Te Puea Marae opens their doors to the homeless

By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

An Auckland marae is opening its doors to homeless families as the housing crisis worsens in the region. Te Puea Marae spokesperson Hurimoana Dennis says everyone is welcome regardless of the colour of their skin.

Te Puea Marae is living up to its name.

Te Puea Marae spokesperson Hurimoana Dennis says, “For our Te Puea family, we follow the wishes of our leader Te Puea Herangi. She cared for everyone no matter where they were from.”

It seems homelessness has hit a crisis point in Auckland with families reportedly having to sleep in cars around the city. Te Puea has been helping their community for some time.

“They know that this place is available to them. But people from the Pacific, Asians, we'll look after them. But first our Māori families,” says Dennis.

Like Te Puea, other Auckland marae are willing to open their doors. Te Māhurehure in Pt Chev say they've already housed one family for a week for koha, and Te Tira Hou Marae says they too will open their doors, to anyone regardless of race.

Tāmaki Makaurau MP Peeni Henare says, “We should ensure that the purpose of these marae are fulfilled.  The role of the marae is to care for people, to extend hospitality to visitors.”

It's reported that WINZ pays up to a week’s accommodation costs to families in hardship to stay in hotels.

Henare says, “They need them to open their doors, and for the government to pay for their accommodation expenses, like power and water. But, the important thing is that the government extend their services to assist.”

Like the saying of Te Puea: "Work hard for the betterment of our people."