30 Sep 2013

Maori councillor hopes to help young Sydney homeless people

6:30 am on 30 September 2013

A Ngai Te Rangi Salvation Army volunteer based in Sydney says he's sharing his stories of living on the streets - which are giving young homeless people a sense of hope.

Te Rangatahi Taniora moved from Tauranga to Australia nearly a decade ago, but fell on hard times after his casual work contract ended and wasn't able to receive a social welfare benefit because of 2001 law changes barring New Zealanders from getting help.

He says now that he has been able to turn his life around through help from other people, he is in a position where he can nurture other young Maori and Pacific people who are suffering the same plight.

Mr Taniora says his experiences define who he is today. He says if he can share his korero with others to help them on their journey of their struggles - then he's happy to put his hand up and say he's been there, too.

Mr Taniora says the stories of his trials and tribulations - including how to cope with being turned away from applying for a benefit and living it rough on the streets - helps others more than it helps him.

Recent figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics reveal that 40% of homeless people in Australia are under the age of 24.