The boy who captured hearts due to his unlikely friendship with a homeless man has been showered with generosity over the past month.

Uili Papalii, 12, was selected by a benefactor to go on a day trip to Wellington for a day with another Manurewa Intermediate School student during the recent school holidays.

He has also been gifted a $150 Rebel Sports voucher, $200 in cash and a $350 Pak 'n' Save voucher.

Uili Papalii with local homeless man Robert Millar who now has a job. Photo / Sarah Harris
Uili Papalii with local homeless man Robert Millar who now has a job. Photo / Sarah Harris

Homeless man Rob Millar - who lost his wife, his home and his job - was offered work and a bed after the Herald on Sunday published a story chronicling Millar and Uili's special friendship.

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Millar, 60, was touched after Uili helped him out, donating his pocket money and his school lunches when he saw him in distress outside shops in Manurewa, South Auckland.

Millar was then given a job painting a pub in Kawerau. But the job is due to finish soon and Millar is looking for more work in Auckland.

Uili and Millar talk on the phone in between visits. Everytime Millar visits Auckland he goes to church with the family on Sunday. Uili explained that Millar had changed.

"It just feels like talking to a normal man, rather than a homeless man.

"He's not sad anymore."

Uili Papalii with his uncle Manaaki Marsh who he met up with on his trip to Wellington. Photo / Supplied
Uili Papalii with his uncle Manaaki Marsh who he met up with on his trip to Wellington. Photo / Supplied

The Wellington trip was Uili's first time on a plane. He went to Te Papa, Parliament and Weta Workshop. Uili also got to visit his uncle who works at a cafe in the city. He said the plane trip was "amazing".

"It was raining but when we got onto the clouds then we just saw sun and a sea of clouds.

"The plane was not scary, it was exciting. I got the window seat,"

Mum Julianna Awhina Maihi-Roberts said Uili had kindly shared his vouchers. The money and Rebel Sports voucher went towards buying shoes for Uili and his six siblings. The family then bought special groceries with the Pak 'n' Save voucher, including a pork roast.

"That's a treat in our family, we were so happy to have that."

The painting job Millar is currently on is due to finish soon, he will then need another project to sink his teeth into, he said.

"I really don't know. I'll just have to wait and see what falls my way."

The upside of the publicity was Millar's mum and some of his brothers had been in touch and Millar plans to see them soon.

"Mum said I did a good thing by Uili but I said, mum, Uili did a good thing by me."