Christmas was given extra special meaning due to the efforts of Papakura Marae and the Auckland City Mission. In a unique partnership, the pre-Christmas food bank was taken into the community in an attempt to personalise the ‘spirit of Christmas’ and support whānau in need of a helping hand. Many social services (including budgeting, emergency housing and domestic violence services) understand the stresses impacting on families leading into the Christmas period.
This year a new approach between the Auckland City Mission and Papakura marae meant that the distribution of Christmas food parcels was taken into the community as a way of connect5ing with those whanau struggling at this time. Whanau has been lining up at the marae since 3 am and they were not disappointed when the food bank opened the doors and distributed a substantial food package. This initiative will occur in the 10 days leading to Christmas Eve and has been well supported by Papakura Marae and members of the community.
As it so happened our PM Jacinda Ardern was at the marae to announce a new papakainga project investment of $1m to the marae for their kaumātua flats. This is the first allocation of a new fund worth $15m established by our Government to enable papakainga housing and community development.
I am so pleased that the marae can now advance their development aspirations by including kaumātua housing alongside their GP and social services for the community.
Christmas is a time for giving and its also a time to ensure that connected and caring communities build a resilient future.
Meri Kirihimete whānau.