Homelessness through the eyes of a rough sleeper

Two formerly homeless men have become stars in a fundraising video for the Auckland City Mission that lets viewers see the world through the eyes of a rough sleeper.

Rob Smith and Richard Turipa, both 36, were picked to make the film because they are members of the Mission’s Hobson Street Theatre Company.

“It was important to us that our homeless clients were involved in the filming, in order to ensure the final result was as authentic as possible,” Chris Farelly,the Auckland City Missioner says.

Smith hails from Northland’s Ngapuhi iwi, but his family moved “all over the place” and he ended up sleeping on the streets for just over a year.

“I was travelling around and trying to find work. I couldn’t afford rent, and I didn’t want to stay with family because I could see that they were struggling as well, so I chose to go rough for a while,” he said.

Turipa, from the Tuhoe iwi in the Bay of Plenty, slept on the streets on and off for three years.

“It was basically just losing jobs and then running out of money to be able to afford things like rent and food,” he said.

“In those times you are just wondering how you’re going to get by, so you might spend some on alcohol, and then it was, ‘Okay, I’m getting drunk, there’s no work, and you’re feeling not too confident about things.

And you don’t have that much family support around because they’ve moved overseas or around other parts of the country. Also I had a gambling problem, all those things were factors.”

Harsh Reality was filmed in Auckland central. The two men are filmed in the city at night with a GoPro-style camera that lets the viewer see their world with 360-degree vision, either tilting a phone up and down or around or, on a desktop computer, clicking on an icon at the top-left of the screen to look up, down, left and right.


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News category: New Zealand.

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