The plight of an 11-year-old girl at Te Puea Marae with a love for reading has prompted a donation of more than 200 books.

University Bookshop (UBS) at Auckland University has collected and donated 241 books this month for families at the marae, which has opened its doors to feed and house families living in their cars.

The store aimed to donate a library of children's and young adult books to the Mangere Bridge Marae.

For a week in June, UBS customers were asked to buy books for Te Puea Marae, and for every book purchased, UBS would donate a book of the same value.


Book donations from publishers and suppliers were still coming in, according to event organiser Kate Hannah, executive manager at University of Auckland hosted Centre of Research Excellence, Te Pūnaha Matatini.

Mrs Hannah said she heard John Campbell talking on the radio to TA, an 11-year-old girl whose family had been living in their van for months, and thought "there must be something we can do".

She describes the public's response as "brilliant", receiving calls from across the country from people wanting to contribute.

UBS gratefully accepted online donations of books too.

The books are being delivered to Te Puea Marae this week.

Te Puea Marae representative Moko Templeton said kids at the marae "absolutely love" the book donations.

"It's just like Christmas day for them...they're not used to being able to sit down and read at a table."

Mrs Templeton said donations of books are helping the children's reading skills immensely.


"If you can't read, you can't get a job. We want to make sure we send every child away with books and stationery when they leave."

Some of New Zealand's top musicians are also hoping to aid Te Puea Marae with a 'Music is Love' concert.

Kiwi musicians Sons of Zion, Three Houses Down, Tomorrow People, Che Fu, Pieter T, Swiss and music promoter Pato Alvarez are joining forces in the hopes of raising $100,000 for the marae.

Three Houses Down lead singer Charlie Pomee said it was saddening to know families could find themselves in a situation where they were no longer able to support each other.

"My kids are why I wanted to put this show together. I guess as a parent we want the best for our kids and sleeping in a car, we all know is unfair for any child," Mr Pomee said.

Concert organiser Pato Alvarez knows first hand what it's like to be homeless.

"Everyone deserves a roof over their head and hot food to eat," Alvarez said. "I personally slept in the streets for three weeks when I arrived in New Zealand from South America 11 years ago."

Music is Love will be held on Thursday, July 14 at The Studio on Karangahape Road.
The musicians will visit Te Puea Marae the day after the concert to deliver the funds raised from ticket sales.