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Aue te Mamae: exploring Te Puea memorial Marae’s ‘Te Manaaki Tangata Programme’, as an indigenous response to homelessness in Tāmaki Makaurau

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Master's thesis, Unitec Institute of Technology, ,

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This thesis investigates the Manaaki Tangata Programme (MTP), an Indigenous Homeless service delivery model developed and implemented by Te Puea Memorial Marae in response to the homelessness crisis in the wider Auckland Region, New Zealand.

Initiated in 2016, MTP leverages marae infrastructure and tikanga to support homeless families, successfully placing 417 Whānau Kāinga Kore (Homeless Families) into homes and aiding in their life stabilisation. The research accompanying MTP, starting in 2017, aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of marae and tikanga in meeting the needs of homeless whānau and to understand the factors contributing to its success compared to government agencies. Employing Kaupapa Māori and pūrakau (storytelling) as its methodological framework, the study examines the cultural context of Te Puea Memorial Marae, reflecting the tikanga of the marae and the lived experiences of the participants, including homeless families, MTP workers, and staff from Ministry of Social Development and other supporting agencies. The findings reveal that MTP represents a distinctively Māori approach to addressing homelessness, rooted in Māori values such as manaaki (caring), aroha (love), whakapapa (genealogical connectedness), and whānaungatanga (relational connectedness). The programme’s success is attributed to its culturally grounded care practices and its ability to forge effective partnerships with government agencies, ensuring responsive and respectful support for the homeless. MTP’s integration of Māori cultural concepts into its operations not only facilitated a respectful and dignified approach towards homeless whānau but also demonstrated the potential of Indigenous models to challenge and enhance current practices in homeless service delivery. This research underscores the significance of culturally specific responses in social services and sets a precedent for blending traditional knowledge and contemporary needs in social support frameworks.

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