Te Puea Memorial Marae sign agreement to help the homeless

Involved in the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Te Puea Memorial Marae and various businesses are, from ...
Chris Harrowell

Involved in the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Te Puea Memorial Marae and various businesses are, from left, Skills Update Training Institute programme managers Rachel Teesdale and Caroline Sager, marae chairman Hurimoana Dennis, Dempsey Wood managing director Conal Dempsey, Ernst and Young director Anthony Ruakere, and Dempsey Wood people operations manager Maurice Deevy.

Homeless people staying at a south Auckland marae are set to receive training and job opportunities.

Representatives from several companies signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Te Puea Memorial Marae in Māngere Bridge on October 9.

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Te Puea Memorial Marae chairman Hurimoana Dennis speaks to media after signing the memorandum of understanding with ...
Chris Harrowell

Te Puea Memorial Marae chairman Hurimoana Dennis speaks to media after signing the memorandum of understanding with several companies on October 9.

They're pledging to support its Manaaki Tangata programme, under which the marae is providing accommodation, food, and support to help local homeless people get into long-term housing.

Marae chairman Hurimoana Dennis says the companies that signed the memorandum will support homeless people staying at the marae with jobs, training and other opportunities.

He told the company representatives they're the "last people standing".

"We had 30 people come to the first meeting and we've been communicating … about what a good MOU looks like.

"I know there are others who will come, but we couldn't wait. There are people who need your help."

Among those supporting the initiative is Conal Dempsey, the managing director of building and infrastructure company Dempsey Wood.

He says the company is "very excited" to get involved.

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"This is about helping people who need a bit of help.

"We always employ on attitude. That's the strength of our business.

"We've had people come in as labourers who maybe didn't speak much English.

"They've learned mathematics and 20 years on they're some of our most valuable employees."

Dempsey says his company provides people with opportunities.

"It's great to see some success stories coming out of this programme.

"We're going to give it a very good crack."

The memorandum was also signed by Skills Update Training Institute programme managers Caroline Sager and Rachel Teesdale.

Sager says the Mangere-based organisation has a business arm that provides employment and training for young people and adults.

"Most of our clients are sent to us by Work and Income.

"It's not just a job. We want to make sure they've got a career."

Ernst and Young director Anthony Ruakere is advising the marae on how to improve the Manaaki Tangata programme.

He says he's proud of what it's achieved over the last 12-18 months.

"Whenever I'm in conversations with colleagues or friends [about] issues, not just of homelessness but the economic and social depravity our people face, I always bring the conversation back to what's happening here [at the marae].

"I want to stop our people occupying the bottom rung of every ladder out there."

Dennis says companies including SkyCity, Auckland Airport, DHL, Vodafone and Auckland Council have also expressed a desire to get involved.

 - Stuff

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