Two new emergency houses were opened today in Tauranga, by Te Tuinga Whānau Support Services.
Whare that are specifically designed to help mothers and their children have a fresh start like Stephanie Tapiata and her two children are who are grateful to be in a safe house.
"I'd probably be struggling, me and my kids would probably be in the car, it would be just really sad," she explains.
She has moved into one of two homes that are big enough to house up to seven families, one house named Whare Ora and the other Whare Awa.
The latter named after iwi leader and Te Tuinga Whānau board member Te Awanuiarangi Black as a way to honour his memory in the form of helping others.
The trust's Executive Director Tommy Wilson describes the new houses as a "place of well-being" primarily aimed at mothers and their children.
"Most of the time their husbands have disconnected, there is quite a bit of gang affiliation, may have come from abusive houses and we find the mamas want to make good homes for their whare and that's what works and we want to work with those that help themselves."
Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell who was present at the opening says “I commend Te Tuinga Whānau Support Services Trust for their enthusiasm, determination and commitment to provide safe and secure homes for whānau."
The Trust has been looking after the homeless for the last 26 years and will soon have a total of five emergency houses open, enabling around 50 families a year to a fresh start.