As a sponsor of Vinnies CEO Sleepout, the Mata’utia Brothers Foundation did its bit to raise awareness of homelessness across the Hunter region.
With just a few cardboard boxes, blankets and beanies, Mata’utia brothers Sione, Pete, Pat and Chanel slept out in the cold at McDonald Jones Stadium last week, an experience they won’t forget.
“It got pretty cold towards the end of the night and in the morning the next day,” said Pete.
“It was a pretty tough sleep but it was an experience that we’ll definitely take in and learn from and raise as much awareness as we can.”
More than 2.5 million Australians are living below the poverty line and more than 105,000 Australians are experiencing homelessness.
That’s no different in Newcastle and the Hunter Valley with an alarming number of people doing it tough every day.
“It is pretty big in Newcastle, from Muswellbrook to Newcastle to Maitland, it’s huge and is more than I expected,” explained Pete.
“Homelessness is not just about people sleeping on the road but it could be drama at home between families and not knowing what they’re doing or not able to pay their rent.”
With the entire night out in the cold it gave the Mata’utia brothers time to reflect and spend quality time with friends and family.
“I liked it, we got to play cards together late at night,” smiled Pete.
“Pauli Pauli also joined us as well and that was pretty cool him supporting us.
“We had to actually get away from our phones and enjoy some company of friends and family so it was a big eye opener.”
Even mum came out to support the cause.
“We were pretty surprised my mum wanted to join us on the sleep, she likes her bed a lot at home,” laughed Pete.
Their efforts raised $2,201 in just six days which is included in almost $30,000 raised across the Hunter.
“A very big shout out to everyone that donated to us, it really means a lot as we raised awareness and it shows how big hearted our community is,” Pete said.
And the frosty conditions won’t keep the Mata’utia brothers away, as they aim to line up for another night in the cold next year.
“We will definitely try and do it again,” Pete stated.
“We can’t wait to get more into it for next year’s one and if anyone wants to join our group, we’ll definitely make something out of it.”