The Auckland region is vast – 4,894km2, from Wellsford in the north to Waiuku in the south. To help us accurately count the region, Auckland’s Homeless Count relies on the support and commitment of hundreds of volunteers. We’ve also got a team of dedicated coordinators helping us to plan and prepare for the count by leading community engagement in five ‘sub-regions’: North, East, Central, South and West.
Diana Hegan is our sub-regional coordinator for both South and East Auckland. We asked Diana a few questions to get to know her and her role a bit better.
Tell us a bit about your background. Where are you from and what do you do?
My tribal affiliation is Te Aupouri. I currently work for Te Puni Kokiri, the Ministry of Māori Development and my working field is in community development and engagement with a specific expertise in networking. I also lead the homeless/rough sleeper portfolio for the Tāmaki Makaurau Regional Office.
As the sub-regional coordinator for South and East Auckland, what is it that you love about these areas?
South Auckland is my home patch. My dad (90 years) still lives in our 5-bedroom whanau home in Otara, which we have had since 1964. This area has seen a lot of changes over the years, but it is still home to me.
I have spent years working on projects with Ngati Whatua ki Orakei, as has my husband Kim, so the East side Hawke whanau are dear to my heart as well. All New Zealanders know the struggles of Bastion Point! I look forward to exploring more of the East as part of this process to get to know the broader area and its community.
How did you find out about the count?
I am an active member of the Auckland Rough Sleepers Initiative and a board member of the New Zealand Coalition to End Homelessness, so I knew of this kaupapa very early on.
Why is being part of Ira Mata, Ira Tangata: Auckland’s Homeless Count important to you?
Ira Mata, Ira Tangata gives a face to the homeless. This means we can no longer be an ostrich and keep our heads in the sand! This issue needs to be addressed. The first step is to better understand the number of people living without shelter so that the findings can be used to improve services and help us better understand how to end homelessness.
Volunteering is a great way to be of service to people experiencing hard times. Every small bit counts. I hope others join the count to help with this important kaupapa.
Hundreds of volunteers are needed for Auckland’s Homeless Count. Find out more and register to volunteer before 31 August 2018.