Family of rough sleeper found dead outside church speak out

The family of a rough sleeper who was found dead outside the Manurewa Methodist Church have revealed more about the man's background.

He was 59-year-old Haami Thomas Manahi, also known as Bonzo.

He was found dead on the church doorstep last Tuesday morning as volunteers inside were preparing to open the weekly soup kitchen.

His brother, Toko Manahi-Kopu, told Newshub he tried to do all he could to help his brother who had been sleeping rough for around 21 years.

"My door was always open. I actually built him a sleepout," he said.

He says his brother had bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, and never really had any proper treatment.

"There's just got to be something put in place so that we can make things accessible - information, where to go. It's not there," says Bonzo's sister, Princess Manahi.

Manurewa Methodist Church Reverend Alifeleti Vaitu'ulala Ngahe says they're seeing more rough sleepers outside the church and are doing all they can to help.

"It's difficult and we can't judge people," he told Newshub.

"Sometimes when I walk on the street and they approach me and say, 'Oh Reverend, we're very hungry can you buy us something to eat?' and I take time to go to the takeaway, buy some chips and stuff. We need to care for those people and love them."

He says the Government needs to do more - and not just by reforming policies.

"But they need to be engaged to know them. They can't do that by just writing policies and giving away money," Rev Ngahe said. 

"But we need the Government to come and actually engage to see what is homeless."

Bonzo's cause of death is still not known.