Who was a neighbour to the homeless?


A Palmerston North family has been flung into social media stardom after a video of them feeding the homeless went viral.

“Maybe when people see a patched gang member like myself doing this kind of thing in the community, they might change their perceptions,” said Te Kaipo Ahuriri, Tūhoe.

A Facebook video has reached more than 255,000 views after he and his family spent the weekend tracking down and feeding the homeless.

Ahuriri’s childhood friend of 38 years was found dead in Rotorua last year after living on the street for some time.

“He was like a brother to me . . . if I had’ve known he was living like that, we would’ve taken him in.”

Ahuriri said seeing people living rough was heartbreaking, and he knew what that felt like.

“I was adopted out as a child and raised by a Pakeha family. I’ve always felt homeless myself so I know what it feels like not to have a home or know where you belong.

Ahuriri acknowledged some of those begging on the streets were using it as a way of getting drugs and alcohol.

But said the people they were engaging with were in genuine need.

“The first thing is to feed them and house them. Then we need to go back and look at the issues they are dealing with.”

Since the post was shared, thousands had offered their support with videos of others doing similar acts flooding in.

“We didn’t expect this at all; we’ve had a thousand private messages,” Mrs Ahuriri said. “We had a reporter from Taiwan on the phone this morning.”

“We’ve been overwhelmed by it all. We’ve had so many people send us messages of thanks and make financial contributions.”

Supportive words have crossed the oceans, from people in Australia, England, France, Italy and Mexico.


Additional reading

News category: New Zealand.

Tags: , , ,