'Trespassed constantly': Concern for number of rough sleepers driven out of South Auckland

A number of volunteer groups are concerned that rough sleepers are being driven out of South Auckland.

They claim many are left frightened after being moved on or trespassed, and they're struggling to track them down to help. 

Debbie Munroe, a spokesperson for Waka of Caring, has been serving up hot meals in Manurewa for seven years.

"Right now we're back to feeding anywhere between 5 to 20," she told Newshub.

Munroe believes there are many more mouths to feed, but says some homeless are too scared to meet her on the streets as police, security and local businesses are moving them on.

Munroe says Auckland's rough sleepers are "being trespassed constantly, being made to get up in the middle of the night and move."

Karewa Dalley experienced that first-hand when she slept rough for six months last year.

"We were harassed by the police. We were trespassed from McDonalds, we were trespassed from that side of the street, to where we pretty much had nowhere to go when it was raining," Dalley told Newshub.

The community came together when homeless man Haami Thomas Manahi died in the doorstep of Manurewa Methodist church in 2017.

Munroe says people are even being trespassed or moved on from there.


She also used to serve meals in Manukau, but stopped because of the push back.

"We're only in Manurewa right now because we don't know where our Manukau lot are," she said.

"So until I find out where our Manukau lot are, we know there's people out there that aren't eating."

Mobile laundry charity Orange Sky is also struggling to help.

Just two of its thirteen weekly shifts are based in South Auckland, and they've had to cancel about a dozen because the homeless are being moved on.

"This is a constant occurrence, this isn't just a monthly or a yearly thing. For some of the guys in Manukau I know this was a weekly occurrence for them." Orange Sky's Eddie Uini said.

Many rough sleepers end up in Auckland's CBD. A central city volunteer group told Newshub they recently identified 10 rough sleepers from South Auckland.

"Getting rid of people is not solving the issue," says Munroe.

Both the Manurewa and Manukau business associations say their focus is on housing rough sleepers through the Housing First programme. They say it's not their policy to trespass or move people on, but admit they can't speak for individual businesses.

Police also say they only move people on in cases of public disorder or anti-social behaviour.

Debbie Munroe wants a drop-in centre opened out south, but she's struggling to convince businesses and local boards.

"You know what it's gonna take? It's gonna take one of our guys to die on the streets."

Auckland Transport opened the Manukau bus station as a temporary night shelter last year, but won't this year due to resourcing.

It's just another blow for South Aucklanders sleeping rough this winter.


Contact Newshub with your story tips: