Auckland family of five feed homeless after experiencing homelessness first hand

Mt Wellington family from left, Rangimaria, Home, Tyler, mum Kiana and Hani-Heemi feed the homeless every week from ...
TORIKA TOKALAU/FAIRFAX NZ

Mt Wellington family from left, Rangimaria, Home, Tyler, mum Kiana and Hani-Heemi feed the homeless every week from their own pockets.

After being forced out of their home three times the Ngatai-Morunga family know firsthand the pain of being homeless.

Now, with a Housing New Zealand roof over their heads, the Mt Wellington family are going out of their way to help others in need by feeding and clothing the homeless from their own pockets.

Mother of five Kiana Ngatai-Morunga, 31, said they've also donated blankets, vegetables from their garden and canned foods.

"That could have be us," Ngatai-Morunga said.

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A study conducted by the University of Otago last year revealed that at least one in every 100 Kiwis were homeless in 2013. This included those living with family and friends.

In 2016, at least 228 people were said to be homeless in Auckland's CBD according to the Auckland City Street Count of Central Auckland's rough sleepers. 

In February 2014, Ngatai-Morunga and her five children were handed a 90-day eviction notice from their Paeroa home in Waikato.

With nowhere to go, she considered living with her children in her car.

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On two occasions she managed to find families to live with in south Auckland but both times landlords told the Ngatai-Morunga family to leave.

"I had run out of options for us, we had nowhere else to go but to go live in my car.

"I had five kids, my eldest was 10 at the time and my youngest was one, he was still a baby."

A week after being told to vacate in March 2014, Ngatai-Morunga received a call from Housing New Zealand to view a three-bedroom state home in Mt Wellington, which they now call home.

Two weeks later their initiative for the homeless began after her daughters Tyler, 9, and Rangimaria, 8, came across beggars and the homeless outside a Mt Wellington supermarket.

With their own pocket money, the girls bought a can of baked beans and bread and gave it to those on the street.

"Now we cook soup, sometimes chicken, sometimes bacon, put it all in a box with plates and spoons and go out to feed those on the streets.

"Whatever we can spare every week, we use that to buy food to give away."

Ngatai-Morunga said giving to the less fortunate had been rewarding to her and her family.

"My kids initiate our giving every week, going through our cupboards to see what we have that we can share.

"And it blows my mind that being so young, they have a heart to give - I'm proud of them."

 - Stuff

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