Hawke's Bay residents spent a night sleeping in their cars to show support for those who spend many that way.

Organised by Karamu High School student Wai Tupaea, the Park Up For Homes protest saw concerned residents gather at Clive Square to listen to speeches, discuss ways to help those in need, before spending a cold night in their cars.

The 18-year-old said the event had been a success, and he felt they had made progress on how to help the homeless in Hawke's Bay.

"It was incredibly cold, and ... I didn't get a good night's sleep but that's what many families have to do," he said.


Ikaroa-Rawhiti MP Meka Whaitiri was one of those who joined the protest, which she said was a sobering and sleepless experience.

"Doing it for one night, you never actually appreciate what it's like for the people who do it every night," she said.

While numbers might not have been as high as organisers would have liked, Ms Whaitiri said those who stayed were passionate about discussing the issue, and figuring out solutions - whether this was putting the pressure on "the powers that be" or asking landlords to extend some humanity to those in need.

Mr Tupaea said: "We did have a smaller turnout than expected."

"The people who were there cared about this issue, and that's what I wanted, I wanted people to care and bring the community together.

"It doesn't stop with this protest, we are going to try and continue to create change."