Sometimes Christmas cheer comes dressed in a red sparkly bra and black lace mask flinging home-made poi.

And her name is Rudolph.

Ramona Eliza Hapai Rudolph was this afternoon bringing festive spirit to the long queue of people waiting for gifts and food parcels at Auckland City Mission.

Numbers in need have surged this week with 4000 people expected to have visited the mission for Christmas by Friday.

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Ramona Rudolph performs for Auckland City Mission clients while they wait for their presents and food hampers. Photo / Nick Reed
Ramona Rudolph performs for Auckland City Mission clients while they wait for their presents and food hampers. Photo / Nick Reed

Rudolph was at the City Mission today collecting her own Christmas food parcel when she decided to bust out a performance.

"I came to spread my love with those waiting hours and hours for a parcel.

"I was just thinking of the families and kids. They're crying, waiting in line. So I thought I would put some music into their lives."

Rudolph, 56, knows all about hard times. She escaped an abusive relationship in 2013 when she moved from Australia to New Zealand. She was homeless for four months before the City Mission helped find her a home.

Ramona Rudolph makes her own poi out of rubbish bags and cotton wool. Photo / Nick Reed.
Ramona Rudolph makes her own poi out of rubbish bags and cotton wool. Photo / Nick Reed.

In 2015, a week before Christmas, she lost her job at a supermarket due to mental health issues and has been on a sickness benefit since then. Rudolph, who is of Ngapuhi descent and hails from Pupuke in the Far North, says she has $60 left over after rent and bills are taken out.

Rudolph has only been busking for the last year after she met a man from Yorkshire who was busking with his son. He inspired her to create her own show where she channels the poi dancing she learnt from her grandmother as a child and pairs it with upbeat Maori music.

Ramona Rudolph was homeless for four months before the City Mission helped her find a home. Photo / Nick Reed
Ramona Rudolph was homeless for four months before the City Mission helped her find a home. Photo / Nick Reed

She makes her poi out of cotton wool and rubbish bags and every dance is "impromptu". Rudolph wants to share her love of music and Maori culture and believes as long as you know your roots you are rich in wairua [spirit] and mana [power].

"I was struggling on my own but I've found myself now. I've found my calling. It's all in the music.

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"I make up my dances, I just go with the beat. I feel it and I'll never be able to do it again. I'll never be able to remember it.

"I wanted to get out there for other inspiring wahine."

Rudolph's message to all this Christmas is to love one another.

"Don't hit your wives or belittle your children. Bring your tamariki up. You have to love, read and sign to them. Teach them the poi. It's better than hitting them."

With only a week to go until Christmas, the City Mission expects to assist at least another 1300 people by Friday, and the need for donations is critical because these funds help not only over Christmas but in the New Year when many people struggle.

Currently the Mission has raised only a third of the $1.3 million Christmas appeal target, and is urging all Aucklanders to donate to help a fellow Kiwi this Christmas.

Simon Jobe, 30, waited for three hours at the City Mission today to get gifts for his children aged between 4 and 7.

Auckland City Mission clients Simon Jobe and his daughter Saphire Jobe, 6, with their presents and food hampers. Photo / Nick Reed
Auckland City Mission clients Simon Jobe and his daughter Saphire Jobe, 6, with their presents and food hampers. Photo / Nick Reed

He works as a roofer and his partner cares for the kids full time at their Panmure house. He said they were struggling over the Christmas period with extra expenses.

"Everyone thinks you're Santa Claus. It's 'uncle can I have this and that'. It's hard on the ol' pocket.

Jobe got three presents for his children and a food parcel that had tinned food, meat and chocolate in it.

"It'll make Christmas a hell of a lot better."

Donations can be made here or by calling the Mission on 09 303 9200.

The Mission's annual Christmas appeal is running until January 15.