A non-profit organisation that provided vulnerable people access to basic hygiene has visited Rotorua to assess the need for its service.
Orange Sky New Zealand provides free mobile laundry and shower services to people experiencing homelessness and vulnerable communities.
The organisation is on a three-week road trip across the country to understand where the future need and interest is for its service.
Its itinerary includes meetings with local council members, community support services, and hosting a selection of pop-up shifts to support and connect with locals.
It held a pop-up shift on Friday where Rotorua people could check out the bright orange van, use the services, or just have a chat.
Orange Sky operations manager Eddie Uini said Rotorua had always been high on its radar but he could only tell so much from statistics.
"By talking to the people here and doing work on the ground, we can figure out how we can give support."
Uini said, while in Rotorua, Orange Sky was working on four things - understanding the need, meeting service providers and people it could partner with such as the Salvation Army, finding potential supporters or funders, and seeking volunteers.
He said Orange Sky's vans included two washing machines big enough for blankets and sleeping bags, and two driers on top.
The van was self-sufficient, with its own water, detergent and power, he said.
There was also a shower in the back with hot water, and shampoo, toiletries and products provided.
Uini said it also provided robes, as often people were washing what they were wearing.
He said people could easily take for granted being able to do basic hygiene tasks such as washing and showering.
Some people who used the Orange Sky services hadn't had a wash in two or three months, he said.
Uini said the conversations that happened with people during the service were also important.
"I remember one man had said I was the first person that spoke to him in five weeks. It can be really lonely for people in that situation."
Orange Sky has been operating in Aotearoa since 2018 and operates three services - two in Auckland and one in Wellington.
Uini said the vans had a set schedule of about 12 shifts a week, where people could come to a location to use the services.
There were four volunteers per shift and the shift lasted about two to three hours depending on how busy it got, he said.
According to 2018 Census data, more than 41,000 Kiwis experienced homelessness, which includes people without shelter or living in temporary housing, shared accommodation and uninhabitable housing.
Many central Rotorua motels are used fully or in part as transitional housing.
Aligning with its mission to triple its impact by 2025 and support the country's most vulnerable communities, Orange Sky Aotearoa's partnerships manager Katie Hart said the road trip was a way for their team to understand where the future need was and connect with communities.
"Orange Sky is built on connection, with conversation at the heart of what we do, even when it comes to operational decisions such as expansion plans," said Hart.
"The road trip locations were identified based on a number of factors including a needs analysis informed by publicly accessible data around the rates of homelessness per territorial authority, research into the availability and accessibility of similar health hygiene services and consultation with other support services in each location.
"The road trip allows us to go deeper than the data, providing an opportunity for us to listen to the local communities to understand their needs, priorities and challenges to help determine if and how Orange Sky could support."