National | Homeless

Rotorua couple made to vacate drop-in centre for needy

A Rotorua good Samaritan couple have had a hiccup in their quest to provide free meals and social services to the community's most needy. Lara Northcroft and Wetini Mitai-Ngatai recently opened a drop-in centre in the city but will need to vacate the premises at the end of this month.

Northcroft and Mitai-Ngatai are continuing to help feed the needy regardless of any obstacles.

“The owner of the building of the drop-centre told us he has terminated our lease contract,” said Mitai-Ngatai.

Last month the pair alongside Tiny Deanne opened the centre to give free breakfast and lunch meals. Most mealtimes drew over 50 people.

“The drop-in centre is in close proximity to a lot of other services. Even though we are all helping those in need, some aren't in support of us helping the homeless there.”

The pair is now seeking new premises.

Mitai-Ngatai says they hope to have a new drop-in centre that doesn't place any restrictions on us.

“Whether we cook meals for breakfast, lunch or dinner, we are able to do so.”

In the meantime, they are supporting other community good Samaritans such as Percy Poharama and his volunteers.

“We are donating leftover food from Mitai (Māori Village) to our friend and his team who are feeding dinner to the needy. My wife and I take our hat off to them who have been doing this for a long time.”

Northcroft and Mitai-Ngatai hope to partner with other community services and businesses.