Te Puea Marae has commitment from Govt

Te Puea Marae (Newshub.)
Te Puea Marae (Newshub.)

Since south Auckland's Te Puea Marae opened its doors 15 days ago to help work alongside the city's homeless, it has completed 55 assessments of individual families, including 47 children.

The marae has managed to place 27 of those families with shelter better than what they had.

The Government announced on Thursday it will give the Mangere Bridge marae $10,000 from the Ministry of Maori Development to help.

Marae chairperson Hurimoana Dennis met with Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett this morning.

"As a result of the korero, the minister and her team have agreed to work in partnership with our Te Puea Marae, and what that means is that our marae will remain the front door to this kaupapa manaaki (care initiatives)."

Mr Dennis says a lot of people are coming to the marae to help out in the kitchen, and making sure people leave with a job, a place to stay, food and clothes.

"It's all high-fives for everybody when we achieve this."

He says the marae is offering manaaki (looking after) wherever they can -- "a cup of tea, a warm smile, a scone, working with agencies to help these people transfer to something much better than what they had."

Mr Dennis says Ms Bennett has given reassurances officials and social workers will come to the marae and "bolster the first line", and he says there's still ongoing talks about temporary housing on offer.

He says the process allows social agencies time to "catch their breath" until the end of August.

"Being homeless is not new, but families being homeless in cars is something else."

He says the community have rallied around these people, and the system they've built is "outstanding", despite having to hit the ground running.

"We're talking about people who have come a long way, very stressed, looking for us at Te Puea to help them out -- you know who they are, and they are awesome people.

"I'm meeting guys I've never met before, have nothing. They've left with a job, clothes, food, a place to stay and they come back the next day, and they're helping in the kitchen, so that's got to be an outcome."

However Mr Dennis says the marae still needs extra resources, money and valuable support from agencies.

Ms Bennett has shown a commitment to help but hasn't yet visited the marae, despite an open invitation.

“We have agreed to continue working together to house people in need as soon as possible. Mr Dennis also asked for more logistical support from the Ministry of Social Development and that will be provided,” she said in a statement.

Newshub.