Homeless and the necessities of life, such as a trip to an aquarium

Homeless families taken in by Auckland’s Te Puea Marae were treated to a special day out on Wednesday, thanks to the efforts of teacher Jackie Clark.

But Ms Clark says the honour is all hers – in her 20 years of teaching, she’d never seen the gentle parenting she witnessed with the people of Te Puea.

The story begins two months ago, when Te Puea Marae rose to national prominence for taking in a number of homeless families. Ms Clark saw the work they were doing and decided to help raise money.

Using her existing Givealittle page, Ms Clark started raising money to buy toiletries for Te Puea.

She says she managed to raise about $3500. Using the donations, Ms Clark did a shop for the marae, and transferred the rest of the money to Te Puea.

Since then, Ms Clark has been visiting Te Puea weekly, and has formed relationships with the social workers.

Meanwhile, donations amounting to about $400 continued to float through to the page she runs. She says the notes people had written made it clear the donations were meant for Te Puea, rather than the other charity she volunteers for.

Ms Clark thought about getting more resources and items for the marae with the funds. They often need practical things people wouldn’t think of – things like hand sanitiser and rubbish bags.

“But I thought, ‘Why not do a trip?’

“When I went down there and explained the trip [to the social workers], they went, ‘Oh my God. That’s amazing.'”

So Ms Clark decided to organise a trip to Kelly Tarlton’s. She arranged a “wonderful deal” with the aquarium, sorted out a double-decker bus and took 30 adults, 29 children and 10 babies on the trip.

If you get to the point where you have so much money that you don’t know what to do with it, the people who donated it may not intend for you to go on fully funded day trips.  Perhaps that money can be held in trust for needy people still to come.

I don’t deny these people some fun or even a bit of quality of life, but to not respect the spirit in which the donations were made is unwise at best, arrogant at worst.


– Anna Bracewell-Worrall, Newshub

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