Youths helping homeless
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.