Working on the ground is what sets the Pouhine Charitable Trust apart, it says.

The trust is one of many organisations set up in recent years to help the homeless, but worker Ngawhainga Kiriona-Winiata said being more hands on allowed the trust to do more.

It stems from Kiriona-Winiata's whanau trust, the Pouhine ki te Whainga Charitable Trust Incorporated, which was set up in the early 2000s but has only been used to help the homeless for about four years.

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"We have an obligation to make sure that people don't live rough on our streets. We have an obligation to make sure they are safe," Kiriona-Winiata said.

Pouhine has several initiatives to help those in need. Kiriona -Winiata wants to create a short-term night shelter for homeless in the colder months and has previously allowed homeless to stay with her.

She also has a relationship with other workers around the Bay of Plenty and beyond with whom she shares information and advice.

"We engage with them and keep in touch. We work our trust here in Rotorua but share a relationship with other ground workers."

One initiative Kiriona-Winiata spearheads is the creation of ponchos using old woollen blankets.

"You can wear them and not have to worry about storing them. A huge problem is the homeless would store their property and it would be cleared away, stolen or damaged."

Kiriona-Winiata has made and distributed more than 150 ponchos around the region.

She also has a collection of clothes and shoes which she distributes and also accepts donations for.


Kiriona-Winiata said she had an obligation to help others, it was ingrained in her. But there was more to it than helping people.

"When I was younger we had a family member who was living on the streets ... We'd often see her with homeless people. I got to know these people and so it stayed with me."

Kiriona-Winiata said the trust had helped several people into houses and tried to continue communicating with them, checking to see how they were doing.

"It's scary when you've helped someone into a home to think they could go back to the streets."

To find out more about the trust or to offer help find Homeless Rough-Sleepers in Rotorua Supported by Pouhine Charitable Trust on Facebook.