Families sleeping in cars shock travelling bus family video

CHRISTEL YARDLEY/Stuff.co.nz

The Lanes are packing their family of six into a converted schoolbus to travel NZ for a year, making a child abuse prevention documentary.

The 12-metre long bright yellow bus parked up in a small town in the Far North. 

Northland was the first stop for the Lane family from Te Awamutu -  Erinna and Chris and their four boys under 10 - for their Stop the Bus project.

"We soon realised how isolated and cut off the Far North is," Erinna​ said. "There are just so many challenges with poverty."

The Lanes, from left: dad Chris, Josh, 9, Theo, 5, Lachie, 7, Noah, 9, and mum Erinna.
CHRISTEL YARDLEY/STUFF

The Lanes, from left: dad Chris, Josh, 9, Theo, 5, Lachie, 7, Noah, 9, and mum Erinna.

It hit them one night when they saw around eight families living in cars around their bus.

READ MORE:
Te Awamutu links arms to stop child abuse
A 12m-long bus is home for a Waikato family for a year-long film project
Family of six to spend a year on a bus, filming a child abuse documentary

Erinna said she knew they weren't tourists.

For their documentary, the family returned to Te Awamutu and organised 800 people to link arms against child abuse down ...
TOM LEE/STUFF

For their documentary, the family returned to Te Awamutu and organised 800 people to link arms against child abuse down the main street.

"We were surprised at how many people were living in cars. It was almost embarrassing for us, you know, because we had people feeling sorry for us, living in a bus.

"But that bus has everything we need in it."

The Lanes are travelling around New Zealand for a year to film a documentary about how to prevent child abuse and make communities stronger.

The husband and wife filmmakers ready to head for the Far North to start work on their interactive documentary.
CHRISTEL YARDLEY/STUFF

The husband and wife filmmakers ready to head for the Far North to start work on their interactive documentary.

The plan was to hear stories from communities and focus on the people really trying to make a difference in protecting children.

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They set off in May, with a brief itinerary on where they wanted to visit and who they wanted to talk to.

Erinna said they've spoken to Dr Lance O'Sullivan​ and Hone Harawira, but also many people who "don't get a lot of credit".

"We are sharing stories that are creating positive impacts: acts of kindness, bringing communities and support networks looking out for each other.

"Obviously, we have to be real. We will have in the doco the realness of child abuse and what's been happening, but it's more about empowering and inspiring people to do more within their community."

She said it was emotional hearing people's stories. And she and Chris were often surprised at how much people would say to complete strangers.

"We were hearing lots of positive stuff, and that was emotional in itself. But we also heard lots of stories of people who were victims of child abuse - people from all walks of life, not one specific demographic. They would say, this happened to me and I'm still struggling with this as adult."

A lot of people ask how the six of them survive crammed in a small space.

But Erinna and Chris say it's easy. 

"It's been good for our family getting to know each other a bit more," Erinna said.

"It's a lot easier than we thought. It hadn't been cold up north, so the boys were swimming and playing outside."

The adventure has had some ups and downs, including no hot water. But the family just adapts, Erinna said.

She's relaxed on the schooling, saying the boys are learning so much already.

"They come to all our interviews, they're part of everything. It's pretty cool thinking how they've met leaders working in the community, hearing their empowering stories of mana."

The family made their way back to their hometown last Sunday, where they organised a linked-arms project to film.

Around 800 people linked arms in unison down the main street of Te Awamutu. 

The symbolic gesture was to show the Waikato townspeople were taking a stand against child abuse in its community.

The footage will be added to their documentary, with plans of other communities organising the same gesture.

Coromandel is next on the list, then towns in the Waikato for the next few months: Putaruru, Cambridge, Hamilton, Tokoroa and Taupo.

They hope to start 2018 in the South Island.

"People think we're part of a big organisation, but we're basically unfunded. We're literally just surviving.

The Lanes have a Givealittle page to help fund the project, including filming and music licence costs.

"We want to create an interactive documentary sharing people's stories and raise awareness in child abuse and empower people to do more."

 

 - Stuff

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