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Kāinga kore


Homelessness is a significant and complex issue and it will take a community-wide approach to effectively respond to it. Tauranga has a large number of local support services and providers who are doing amazing work to help families throughout our region to navigate this complex issue.  

Kāinga Tupu – Tackling homelessness through collaboration


When we think of homelessness most of us think of people who are sleeping rough or in cars. However, the definition of homelessness includes more than just those at the critical end of the spectrum. Homelessness is defined as a living situation where people with no other options to acquire safe and secure housing are:

  • Living without shelter, or in makeshift shelters, e.g. sleeping rough or living in a car.
  • Living in temporary or emergency accommodation, such as night shelters, refuges, hotels or motels, motor camp sites and boarding housing.
  • Living in shared accommodation temporarily with others – the usual residents of the dwelling are not considered homeless.
  • Living in uninhabitable housing, such as dilapidated dwellings or those not intended for human habitation, like garages. 

The effects of being homeless are experienced daily by our community members and as a community, we need to ensure that we provide care and support for the wellbeing of individuals, families or whanau experiencing homelessness and housing stress.  

Council and Police are here to help

If you are concerned about an individual or family or want to report behaviour, there are two options:

Option 1 - Call us on 07 577 7000


  • report concern over someone sleeping rough
  • seek information on how to support someone experiencing homelessness
  • report a person or an object that is blocking a public place with no intention of stopping people from passing.

A bylaws officer will check on their wellbeing and encourage compliance with our city's rules, if applicable.

Note: if a person is homeless, we are not able to move them on.

Option 2 - Call NZ Police on 105 (non-urgent) or 111 (urgent)


  • report intimidating, aggressive or anti-social behaviour
  • trespassing someone from private property
  • report drug use, substance abuse or drinking alcohol in banned areas
  • report a person or an object that is blocking a public place with the intention of stopping people from passing.

Police will respond.

We’re here to help – who to contact poster (91kb pdf)

For copies of the poster, contact the Kāinga Tupu team at admin@kāingatupu.co.nz

Homelessness is defined as a living situation where people with no other options to acquire safe and secure housing are without shelter, in temporary accommodation, sharing accommodation with a household, or living in uninhabitable housing.

This includes:

  • Living without shelter or in makeshift shelters, for example sleeping rough or living in a car
  • Living in temporary or emergency accommodation, for example night shelters, refuges, hotels/motels, motor campsites and boarding houses
  • Living in shared accommodation temporarily with others – note: the usual residents of the dwelling are not considered homeless
  • Living in uninhabitable housing, for example dilapidated dwellings or those not intended for human habitation, like garages.

An individual or family is still considered homeless if they are:

  • a person moving between different forms of accommodation listed above
  • a minor (aged under 18 years) moving between different households, temporary accommodation and the streets
  • a person currently on a waiting list for a home, but who is living in one of the defined categories above
  • a person who has housing in a different geographic location, but who living situation in Tauranga falls within one of categories above
  • a person who has recently left their usual residence but cannot return to it for safety reasons and who is currently living in one of the above categories.
  • Casual rough sleepers who have a home elsewhere. For example, people sleeping in a park overnight or people on holiday sleeping outside.
  • Tourists and travellers, even if they have no usual residence. For example, people touring in a mobile home or living in a converted housing truck or something self-contained.
  • Students who live in halls of residence or hostels.
  • People who are temporarily homeless because of a civil defence emergency.
  • A person who is between places. For example, students staying with friends while looking for a flat or people staying in a boarding house after recently moving to Tauranga. 
  • A person in supported housing that is intended for long-term accommodation. For example, IHC group homes.
  • A person living in a cold, damp or non-insulated home that is not dilapidated. 

For more information on the definition of homelessness, visit the Statistics NZ website

Homelessness is a complex issue with many pathways that can contribute to a person or family experiencing homelessness. In most cases, homelessness is not something that happens overnight, it is often a culmination of events or factors. Individuals or families who are facing homelessness have often been exposed to stressful life circumstances and need support to re-establish their wellbeing and long-term accommodation.

Pathways that can contribute to homelessness may include one or more of the following factors:

  • relationship breakdown or divorce
  • housing stress
  • mental or physical health
  • drug or alcohol addictions
  • family harm
  • sexual harm
  • debt
  • social isolation (including estrangement from family and friends)
  • childhood neglect.

When people think of homelessness, they often think of people sleeping rough, in tents or in cars. But homelessness is more than just rough sleeping. As part of a research project carried out in 2020 by the Western Bay of Plenty Homelessness Providers’ Network, the experiences of those who have been or are homeless in Tauranga were documented in a book called When the Dominoes Start to Fall. This collection of 18 stories provides insight into the lived experiences and systemic barriers that we need to overcome both nationally and in Tauranga.

When the Dominoes Start to Fall (6mb pdf)

Tauranga has many social service agencies working tirelessly to support our individuals and families in need. For more information, refer to our 'He awhina mōu - Need a hand’ flyer to see a list of the local support agencies.

Need a hand flyer (582kb pdf)

This resource is updated each year. If you know of a service that should be on this resource or would like printed copies of the flyer please contact Peniel Prabhakaran-Elliott

Thank you for wanting to help. If we all do a little, it can make a huge difference to the community we live in, and the city we love.

There are a number of ways you can help. These include:

  • Checking in to see whether the individual or family need any assistance to connect them to the right agency, only do this if you feel safe to do so.
  • Use the Need a Hand flyer to help direct people to the right services.
  • If you have spare time, consider volunteering with agencies across the Western Bay of Plenty that support our homeless community, a list is in the Need a Hand flyer.
  • Next time you are having a clean-out of furniture, clothes or sporting and recreational equipment, please consider donating it to one of the services listed in the Need a Hand flyer.
  • If you have food to spare, there are plenty of community meal providers who are able to distribute food on your behalf, they are listed in the Need a Hand flyer. There are also pataka kai (food pantries) popping up across our region, and you can also donate food to them.
  • Finally, if you live near a community with a community garden, feel free to spend time weeding and planting to help ensure that there is enough kai for everyone.

Need a hand flyer (248kb pdf)

Kāinga Tupu: Growing Homes

Homelessness is an ever-increasing and visible issue for our region, from street and car sleeping to couch surfing, transitional housing, and emergency motel accommodation. Like the rest of Aotearoa, we are amid a housing crisis that is amplified in Tauranga by the demand and need to develop into a sizeable city.

Kāinga Tupu: Growing Homes sets a strategic and coordinated approach to addressing homelessness across the Western Bay of Plenty. Together we want to see a change for our city, where all residents have access to a home that is warm, safe, habitable, and affordable.

Kāinga Tupu Taskforce (previously known as the Kāinga Tupu Mayoral Taskforce)

In 2020 the Western Bay of Plenty Homelessness Strategy and Action Plan was completed. This strategy sets out a vision to eliminate homelessness for the Western Bay of Plenty. It defines clear roles for a wide range of agencies, funders and providers across the sub-region. 

Vision: Homelessness in the Western Bay of Plenty is prevented where possible, or is rare, brief and non-recurring.

Mission: As a sub-region, all residents have the right to housing that is warm, safe, habitable, and affordable. 

To help ensure that the strategy and action plan were successfully implemented, as Western Bay of Plenty Mayoral Taskforce was established. This has since changed to the Kāinga Tupu Taskforce and is responsible for leading our response to homelessness for our region, delivering against the strategy and action plan and advocating for the changes required to help support this vulnerable part of our community. 

Organisations represented on the Taskforce include: 

  • Accessible Properties Limited
  • Under the Stars
  • Te Tuinga Whanau
  • Te Puni Kokiri
  • Bay of Plenty District Health Board
  • The Ministry of Social Development
  • Kāinga Ora
  • Oranga Tamariki
  • New Zealand Police
  • Department of Corrections, Ara Poutama
  • Western Bay of Plenty District Council
  • Empowerment NZ
  • Ministry of Housing and Urban Development
  • Ministry of Education
  • Tauranga City Council.

For more information on the Kāinga Tupu Taskforce, please contact Peniel Prabhakaran-Elliott (Kāinga Tupu Advisor).

Funding from BayTrust, Tauranga City Council, TECT, and Te Puni Kokiri enabled the development of our sub-regional strategy. 

Kāinga Tupu - WBOP Homelessness Strategy 2023-2028 (285kb pdf)
Kāinga Tupu - WBOP Homelessness Action Plan 2023-2028 (197kb pdf)
Kāinga Tupu: 2022 annual outcomes report (1.4mb pdf)

Kāinga Tupu – Tackling homelessness through collaboration video

Western Bay of Plenty Provider Network

The Western Bay of Plenty Provider Network is made up of many agencies across this sub-region who support/provide services for our homeless community. Kāinga Tupu works to bring this group together to identify and remove barriers and discuss collaborating on services and projects that support individuals, families and whanau experiencing homelessness.

It is important that we work together in a co-ordinated way to achieve our common goal of preventing homelessness where possible, or is rare, brief and non-recurring.

This Network meets once every quarter and is facilitated by Peniel Prabhakaran-Elliott, the Kāinga Tupu Advisor. For more information on or to be part of the Network please contact Peniel Prabhakaran-Elliott at peniel.elliott@tauranga.govt.nz..

Vital Update – Tauranga

‘Vital Update – Tauranga’ is a research project that looks at the geographic communities in Tauranga: who makes them up, and what their needs, wants and aspirations are for their neighbourhood’s and the wider city.

Acorn Foundation, TECT, BayTrust and Tauranga City Council undertook this research so that together we can create a better future for our residents. Information collected within this research is supporting further planning in the homelessness and housing spaces with data we have never seen before.

View the reports and digital dashboard.

Funding and support for local services

While we are eagerly awaiting the outcome of the western Bay of Plenty homelessness strategy and action plan, we will continue to provide funding (or rent in kind) to some local services. We anticipate providing greater support following the outcome of the action plan. The services we currently support are providers directly involved in housing solutions and temporary relief for those individuals and/or experiencing homelessness. These services include:

  • Awhina House (Women’s Shelter)
  • Takitimu House (Men’s Nightshelter)
  • The People’s Project
  • Tauranga Foodbank.

The Kāinga Tupu Taskforce and the SmartGrowth Housing Action Plan Working Group have developed a series of online digital dashboards to increase accessibility to data across the housing spectrum.

The dashboards provide a one-stop-shop platform to support our local information needs on everything housing related – from homelessness to emergency housing, to social housing and supported living, to market renting, through to home ownership. They provide:

  1. Up-to-date data specific to the Western Bay of Plenty sub-region, including, where possible, data for specific suburbs.
  2. An opportunity to share data across our region that is often not easy to access.
  3. An opportunity to advocate for our specific needs as a sub-region.
  4. An opportunity for all to use evidence and data to inform localised decisions on service delivery and meeting local demands.

View the dashboards


Phone number

Alcohol Drug Helpline 0800 787 797
Ambulance 111
BOP Sexual Assault Support Service 0800 227 233
BOPDHB Crisis Line 0800 800 508
Elder Abuse Helpline 0800 32 66 865
Family Violence Information 0800 456 450
Healthline 0800 611 116
Lifeline 0800 543 354 or text HELP to 4357
National Mental Health and Addiction Helpline Text or call 1737
NZ Police 111 (urgent) or 105 (non-urgent)
Tauranga Women's Refuge 0800 733 843
Victim Support 0800 842 846

The western Bay of Plenty is often viewed as an affluent community. In reality there are several areas experiencing the highest levels of deprivation in New Zealand with many requiring ongoing social support

Begging is not the same as homelessness. People who beg for money are not necessarily homeless, in fact most people who are homeless do not beg and tend not to engage with the general public.

Homelessness impacts our whole city. It is not an individual issue, it is a community issue and will take all of us to contribute to a solution.

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