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Homeless man remembered at Manurewa Methodist Church

21 July 2017

Posted in: Pacific Radio News,

A special memorial service was held today in South Auckland, for the homeless man whose body was found on the steps of a church last week.

Haamai Manahi, 59, was known by his local community as Kingi or Bonz and was found dead outside the Manurewa Methodist Church last Tuesday morning.

Freedom sleepers stood alongside politicians, police and community leaders to pay tribute to Manahi this morning.

Grand-daughter Henerangi Manahi says Mr Manahi would spend his last dollar to make the family happy.

"He always used his money on us even though he never had much," she says.

Other freedom sleepers, who knew Manahi, say he would give away the clothes on his back to keep others warm.

Robert Mariner, a fellow freedom sleeper, says Manahi was a generous soul.

Police have referred the case to the coroner.

Meanwhile Manahi's death has triggered major concerns about the plight of homeless people looking for warmth and comfort this winter.

Manurewa Methodist Church's Reverend Vaitu'ulala Ngahe, says providing food and warm clothes, is not enough. 

"We need action, not just meeting and talk about issues," he says. "We need to find a place for those people. We can offer food and warm clothes but we definitely need a place for those people to live."

The church runs a weekly hospitality programme to assist the homeless in Manurewa.

Rev. Ngahe says Manahi was a regular at their soup kitchen. 

"He was a good guy, smiley and a very easy person to talk to, very approachable with a sense of humour," he says. "Very sad that he's passed away."

Manurewa Methodist Church will lead a Hikoi of Hope for the homeless next Saturday.

Tags: homeless, Manurewa Methodist Church, Reverend Vaitu'ulala Ngahe,