He might be about to earn millions from the sale of juice company Charlie's, but that didn't stop Auckland celebrity entrepreneur Marc Ellis from sleeping rough in a janitor's closet on Auckland's iconic Karangahape Rd last night.
Ellis joined about 70 other prominent New Zealanders taking part in the Big Sleep Out charity event to raise money for the city's homeless.
The former All Black went rogue at last night's event, held at AUT University's open-air Hikuwai Plaza in central Auckland.
While the rest of the identities found shelter at the plaza, Ellis wanted a more authentic experience and headed to lively night spot K Rd to find shelter.
He slept in a janitor's closet at the back of an old fire station.
"It had a door on it and a tin roof so when it started raining at 3am I was pretty dry, so I was actually thinking that I lucked in rather than lucked out."
This morning close to $100,000 had been raised by the high-profile personalities taking part, which also included former Waitakere mayor Bob Harvey, former Auckland mayor Dick Hubbard, Labour's Auckland central candidate Jacinda Ardern and news presenter Eric Young.
When he returned to the university from K'Rd, Ellis said the imminent Charlie's juice company sale had little impact on his life.
"There's a long way to go before that deal is complete and to be fair, life does not change. I don't think money is going to change anyone's life. You know who and what you are and I don't think loot comes into the equation."
Harvey said "guilt" over his handling of west Auckland's homeless when he was mayor prompted him to take part.
"I really rehoused a lot of people out west, from Tui Glen. People that had been sleeping under bridges. People that had been sleeping at railway stations and I don't know if I did it well, I really don't.
"I think I made the homeless more homeless."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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