Onehunga rallies together to provide free Christmas community meal

Some people didn't just spend time with family on Christmas day, but complete strangers.

Around 250 people gathered at a free community meal in Onehunga's Auckland, organised by local Julie Murphy.

"These are challenging times for families so we wanted to provide a really nice Christmas dinner for them," she told Newshub.

The Wilson and Fale families were some of the diners enjoying the spread and taking advantage of the dancefloor.

Liz Wilson said she normally served people with special needs on Christmas, but thought she would bring them to the local church this year.

"And we brought our aunties here so then we can share with all those who don't have big families and have big laughs," she said.

Her sister Elaine Wilson Fale wanted to "reach out" with her husband and two boys this morning.

"We fed the homeless for our church for breakfast," she said.

"[Then] we just thought we'd come and be with our family and have a meal together at Christmas."

In the carpark outside the Onehunga church was Orange Sky - an organisation which caters for the other needs of the homeless.

Their van is kitted out to offer free laundry services and hot showers to those in need.

"We're not going to end homelessness by washing peoples' clothes but just to see the smiles on people's faces, I think that's what Christmas is about," manager Eddie Uini said.

His brother Nathan was also helping out for the day.

"What better way to spend your Christmas than sharing the spirit and helping people out," he said.

Back inside, festivities were all finished by the afternoon and organiser Julie Murphy said she hoped they would have a similar event next year.