A pregnant woman who fled an abusive environment and spent the past year living out of her car has spoken of the relief she now feels after being rescued by welfare group Te Tuinga Whānau Trust.
Eliza Ruri told 1 NEWS the experience led her to a “dark” place as she escaped from Ngāruawāhia to Tauranga in the hopes of finding safety.
“I made the choice to get in my car and make the move here to Tauranga, where I didn’t realise that I’d be homeless.
“I then lived in my car for about a year, up in the bush, in the cold, no food, no essentials that you are supposed to have.
“I was in a really dark place,” she says.
It was not until she met a police officer who made a call to Tuinga Whānau Trust in order to help her out of the situation.
The Te Tuinga Whānau Trust has set up a transitional home inside the local RSA for families in need during lockdown.
“I got a call the next day from one of the social workers who told me there was a place available for me here at the RSA.”
“To be honest, it was one of the most horrible things, living in your car for a year, especially in the cold up the bush. Being pregnant as well throughout Covid-19, but it actually made me the person I am today.
“If it wasn’t for Tuinga Whānau and a mate of mine, I wouldn’t be standing here today,” Ms Ruri says, adding that having a roof over her head “is like heaven”.
Executive director of the trust, Tommy Wilson, says it was a success story preceded by a chain of kindness.
“These are the success stories that carry us through, this whole currency of kindness. It’s kindness, it’s a commodity we can all trade in.
“Kindness, we are all capable of being kind and it’s got us through Covid and it will get us through the next thing,” he told 1 NEWS.