A new book entitled Te Hā Tangata is the culmination of the 2017 ‘Human Library on Homelessness’ project, which enabled people who have experienced homelessness to share their stories. Te Hā Tangata was launched on 21 March at the Compassion Soup Kitchen in Wellington.
The project aimed to lift Taonga voices and challenge stereotypes and stigma surrounding homelessness. The book documents the project’s journey and shares moving stories that resulted.
At the launch were Taonga and others who collaborated in the project – staff from the Compassion Soup Kitchen, Kahungunu Whānau Services, Te Whakamura Ai Te Ahi and staff and students from Massey University. The ceremony began with Mana Whenua leading the Mihi Whakatau and blessing the books.
Karen Holland, Soup Kitchen manager, said, ‘Not only did I learn about the lives of our Taonga, but they taught me what it is like to experience homelessness, the daily rejection, the fear and the need for connection, aroha and dignity. We hope readers will take what the Taonga have shared and in turn become tellers of their stories so more people will share in the matauranga.’
Te Hā Tangata: the Breath of the People is available for purchase ($29.95) online at: compassion.org.nz/product/te-ha-tangata-book/