16yo with cancer and family moving to new home

9:18 pm on 24 June 2016

A 16-year-old cancer sufferer and her family who have been living at Te Puea Marae in Mangere moved into a new house today.

B at Te Puea Marae on the day her and her family move into their new home. 24 June 2016.

B, 16, and her family have been living at Te Puea Marae in Mangere. Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

The family of six have been at the marae since last Tuesday after leaving the overcrowded house where they were staying.

They were the latest to be found a home after staying at Te Puea Marae, which has opened its doors to the homeless.

Up to 30 volunteers gathered in the wharenui at Te Puea this morning to farewell the family.

As part of the farewell, a karakia was said and marae chair Hurimoana Dennis made a speech.

Hurimoana Dennis farwells B and her family at Te Puea Marae. 24 June 2016.

Hurimoana Dennis Photo: RNZ / Cole Eastham-Farrelly

He thanked the woman known as B and her family for coming to them for help.

"They've been part of making our kaupapa warm, it's been our pleasure to help you and your family. I'm mindful too, that there is a few other families just like B waiting to come here to get our support and they'll get that as well."

He said the marae had been the last resort for the family.

B's father thought the marae catered only for Māori so was hesitant to ask for help, as the family is Samoan, Mr Dennis said.

One by one everyone lined up to give B and her brothers a final hug.

B and her two younger brothers at Te Puea Marae

B with her siblings at the marae Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Some cried as they hugged her, knowing she was heading for a lovely new home, knowing all their hard work had paid off.

Their new whare was to be a brand-new Housing New Zealand open-plan townhouse with four bedrooms.

B would have her own room and could sleep on a brand-new bed.

The exterior of the new home B and her family moved into today. 24 June 2016.

The family's new state home Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

She said she wanted to get some posters of her favourite Samoan wrestler, Roman Reigns, to hang in her room.

"Big thank you to everyone at Te Puea Marae, for everything they've done to help us out. We are truly grateful and we'll never forget it," she said.

Quietly in the corner, B's solo father watched his daughter talking to journalists. He smiled and choked up with emotion when asked how he felt.

B has five more chemotherapy treatments ahead but since moving to the marae she had many offers of support and help, and job offers had come in for her dad.

The marae opened its doors to the homeless in May, and planned to stay open throughout winter.

The back of the marae has been reworked to accommodate families and offices have been set up to assist them.

The family's case is one of many where volunteers at the marae, in collaboration with staff from Work and Income New Zealand, have been able to find new homes for those seeking help.

Checkpoint's John Campbell spoke to B at the marae:

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