New Zealand Law Society - Helping the homeless

Helping the homeless

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With the colder weather on its way, Auckland lawyer Jai Nario noticed with concern the growing number of homeless people on the streets of the Auckland CBD.  She wanted to do something practical to help. She had an idea that she would make up some care packs to give to homeless people that would contain useful items.

Initially she decided to self-fund and perhaps make 10-15 packs. Her husband pointed out a couple of practical concerns. How would she decide who to give the packs to and how would she distribute them?

Jai is a senior associate at Chapman Tripp. She talked to a partner at work who provided a contact at the Auckland City Mission as a starting point.

Once she spoke to staff at the City Mission the project grew. She asked how many packs would be needed to really make a difference and the indication was around 100.

Chapman Tripp’s CSR Committee Chair, Edward Scorgie, was supportive of the idea.

He saw it as an initiative that the whole firm could get behind, and with Chapman Tripp offices in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, it was only natural to attempt to raise enough money to provide 100 packs to each of the City Missions in each location – a total of 300 nationwide.

The City Missions also collectively provided direction to Jai on items to include in the pack, and the final list included, thermal socks, beanies, ponchos, soap, deodorant, hand sanitiser, toothbrush and toothpaste, comb, shampoo and conditioner.

Raising Funds

The initial funds were raised internally at Chapman Tripp by way of a casual Friday donation and by running a silent auction throughout the Chapman Tripp branches. She received donated goods for the auction from companies such as Microsoft, Tantalus Estate and Planet Earth Travel. The partners at Chapman Tripp also donated the temporary use of their carparks for the bidding!  Total funds raised amounted to over $7,000.

Sourcing the Items

Photo of a care pack for the homeless

This was the challenging part of the process as Jai had to source suppliers that could provide 300 of each item she needed. She was very appreciative of the generous responses she received from companies such as Kathmandu who donated the socks and beanies. This was unexpected and allowed Jai to expand the packs. Other companies provided items at cost or discounted prices.

Surplus funds raised were used to buy thermal tops which were distributed to the three City Missions.


Jai had the initial idea in May this year and the packs were delivered to the City Missions last week and some have already been distributed. Items and packs were shipped directly to the Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch offices, where volunteers helped put them together.

This has been a really positive experience for Jai and, she hopes, for everyone involved. Last year she was involved in the Lifewise fundraising event. That event involved business and community leaders experiencing one night sleeping rough, to get a taste of life on the streets, and to raise critical funds to tackle homelessness. This year she wanted to expand on that experience in a more personal way.

“One of the things I wanted to achieve by doing this on a larger scale (in addition to helping out more people) was to raise awareness to encourage others to help.”

Jai is not sure what exactly she will do next year, but she wants to continue to make a difference.

“Homelessness is an issue that I am passionate about addressing.”