Jason Carlson was one of many "streeties" who took part in the Hīkoi for the Homeless.
He addressed the group before it was escorted through town, and then again when it arrived at the Rotorua Lakes Council.
Carlson has been homeless for just over a year.
"I've been in and out of the streets for a while now, sleeping rough. I've been amongst all the streeties down here, they all know who I am. I've slept with them you know, down here in the Government Gardens," he said.
"When I arrived here in Rotorua, I had no income. I was doing all sorts of things just to feed myself, until I found the drop-in centre."
Carlson said he had been going to the meals provided by Tiny Deane and Visions of a Helping Hand for "about five months".
"He provides breakfast and lunch. He comes down to the Government Gardens at 5.30 every night and provides us with hāngī and hot meals."
He said he had been concerned about winter falling.
"It's getting pretty makariri [cold] out there, so we don't want people dying. We have the council getting annoyed about people sleeping on the street ... They (the Government) would rather build more prisons than build a shelter."
Carlson said the homeless just wanted access to the daily basics, which they saw as privileges, such as toilets, showers and laundry services.
"We have got to resort to using sinks just to wash our clothes ... I have been classed as one of the tidiest streeties out. I don't allow the streets to get the better of me. You know it's survival of the fittest."
However, Carlson said there were older members of the community who lived on the street who weren't as capable.
"They're getting old, you know. They are sick," he said.
"We're all children of children, we're pretty much getting discriminated just cause of who we are. We are all people here, we are all human, all human beings."