Youths help­ing home­less

South Waikato News - - Front Page - LUKE KIRKEBY

They live two and a half hours away from a marae which is tak­ing in Auck­land’s home­less but that hasn’t stopped two Toko­roa teenagers from help­ing out.

On hear­ing that the Te Puea Marae was of­fer­ing short term shel­ter for up to 100 peo­ple due to hous­ing short­ages in Auck­land, 13-year-olds Maia Arm­strong and Gi­na­george Kaaho were moved to do some­thing them­selves.

The pair, who both at­tend Pu­taruru Maori im­mer­sion school Te Wharekura O Te Kaokaoroa O Patetere, de­cided they would or­gan­ise a mufti day where stu­dents would bring in a gold coin do­na­tion and can of food which would then be do­nated to the marae.

‘‘Our art teacher said it would be a great idea to give back to Te Puea so Gina and I went to the of­fice the next morn­ing and per­suaded the prin­ci­pal to hold the event. It only took a few mo­ments and words,’’ Maia said.

A plan was put in place that how­ever much the stu­dents raised it would be matched by the board of trustees.

Maia said they were sur­prised by how sup­port­ive ev­ery­one was.

‘‘There are around 160 stu­dents in the school so we thought we would get less than 100 cans and $100 but we got over 200 cans and raised $170 so it was kind of funny and we were amazed,’’ he said.

‘‘We take lots for granted in the South Waikato.

‘‘If this koha (do­na­tion) from our kura (school) helps the marae in its role of help­ing oth­ers then that’s good for ev­ery­one,’’ Gi­na­george said.

In the end $390 was raised along with sev­eral boxes of cans and Maia and Gi­na­george both wrote a let­ter which was in­cluded in the par­cel sent to Auck­land.

‘‘Gina’s was in Maori and mine was in English say­ing how great the event was. We are re­ally proud of the lit­tle kids who sup­ported it and of Te Puea Marae for what it has been do­ing,’’ Maia said

‘‘We hope to con­tinue to do things like this and we en­cour­age oth­ers that they can also go up to the prin­ci­pal and just ask to hold an event or to give back to those in need.’’

They thanked ev­ery­one for their con­tri­bu­tions.

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