Collection: Frequently asked questions

Can I be an Auntie?

Anyone can be part of this whanau! Anyone at all.

How can I donate to the Aunties?

All you do is message  Phil at  OR message us via our Facebook page. I monitor all social media and email. Phil and I are admins for the Facebook page, and will get back to you very quickly. Tell us exactly what you have, and then you will be directed to drop it off to one of our drop off points. Make sure all bedding/clothing/towels are freshly washed, please.

What can I donate to the Aunties?

We take: bedding, clothes, and towels. Shoes, if they’re in great condition. Socks are okay secondhand. Undies are not.

We like toiletries (normal sized) and make up. These must be unused/new.

The women in our community also like nice handbags and jewellery.

All of your material donations, once dropped off, go to our storage unit. These things go:

  • the women who are part of our whanau

  • people who have contacted us to tell us they need something

  • a couple of refuges and emergency houses

  • clients of local social workers.

If we haven’t expressed a need, then we don’t need it.

We can no longer pick anything up and we don’t have the facility to cart furniture around. If you have furniture or whiteware that our girls need, you will need to organise to get it to them directly.

Donations: what we do and don’t need.

We DO NEED clothing, bedding, towels, undies, pyjamas, socks ALL the time. And we need whatever we tell you we need. Keep an eye on the Facebook page.

Secondhand is fine with everything except for undies. Never secondhand undies.

We DON’T NEED your household trinkets. Whether you are moving, downsizing or de-cluttering, we don’t need ornaments or bits and bobs. Don’t ever contact me and tell me you need to get rid of stuff, because that sets off alarm bells. If you say you have a household lot, that sets off alarm bells. Send a specific list of what you have and photos so I can see the condition of the donations.

Why don’t the Aunties want canned tomatoes?

I’ve written and spoken about this a LOT over the years. Go to our media page – there’s plenty of coverage there.

What do the Aunties do?

Basically, as an organisation, we walk alongside women who are healing from abusive relationships. We provide material needs for 950 families a year, if not more, getting them what they have asked for or their agency has asked for. We additionally work closely with the women in our Aunties whānau, there are 27. Whatever they ask for, we try to provide – meeting needs as they arise – and we are now in a situation where they are also starting to emotionally support each other. It’s a funny model, because it’s so unusual but it works really well for us. It’s built on sustained and long lasting relationships, of the women’s choosing. A community of mutual support. One of the women is our Chairperson, and eventually they will run the Aunties. (Maybe. We are still in discussions, them and I).

Separately to this my job is to advocate and educate around domestic violence and social justice issues as they relate to the women we work with. I attend FGCs, court dates, appointments with lawyers, agencies, etc. Whatever the women in our whanau need me to do, I’m there to do it. My work also entails being support for over 700 people a year.

How is The Aunties funded?

Primarily by you. Up until this year, we haven’t applied for grants. We don’t get any other funding apart from the Aunties themselves. Private donations – either one-offs or in the form of automatic payments. When the women need something, and we don’t have enough money, Aunty Jackie asks on social media and the answering is always fulsome and does the trick.

What is the best way for contacting you? Should we contact you only when you ask for stuff or approach you when we have good stuff to give away?

You can email me, or message Facebook. You can text me on 0275228115. Any way is good.

If you have stuff, certainly ask if we need it. But if it’s not washed, and it’s been well used, you may get a no thanks. Please contact Phil for donating stuff.

If you have bigger stuff to give, like furniture or white ware, you will be put directly in contact with the person who needs it.

Where are the Aunties?

Aunty Jackie lives in Manurewa, and has a home office but the Aunties are based in her phone, and those of the Board and the women. It has been suggested we have a hub, but that’s some way in the future. Most of the people we work with live in South Auckland.

Is The Aunties a women’s refuge?

No. We do not run a safe house. We are not a family violence agency. We work informally with many family violence agencies, and a couple of refuges, but we are not one, nor do we run one. The women we work with live in their own homes, and are at different stages of their healing journey. Some haven’t been in a violent relationship for many years.

We do NOT help people flee from violent relationships. Well, not often, anyway. 

Are there Aunties near me that I can help?

The Aunties in Auckland don’t need volunteers. The women themselves end up doing what needs doing, in that regard. The storage unit is really the only way people can help hands on, and that’s being taken care of by two of the women.

Penny Rakau works with Te Whare Tiaki in Porirua, Wellington. She can be found on twitter at @ponekeaunties – Penny was an Auckland Aunty and moved to Wellington and I connected her with Caroline, who runs the refuge/family violence organisation for Maāori women in Porirua.

In Christchurch, there are the Christchurch Aunties

How do you decide who gets help?

I don’t decide. The people who come to us, do. We aren’t a food bank, so we don’t provide food for anyone outside of the Aunties whānau, but apart from that, if they want emotional support or help getting clothing/bedding/towels etc then anyone can access that by reaching out. Our primary focus are our whanau of women and all of your donations are spent on them alone.

Is my donation tax deductible?

Of course! We are a registered charitable trust. If you want a receipt, simply email 

Which other organisations do we work with?

We supply donations to Te Whanau Rangimarie in Mangere, a family violence service provider, and Jackie is also on their Board.

The other organisations are OT, Family Success Matters, Rawiri Community House, and several other refuge organisations.


I hope this has answered your question. If you have any other questions, feel free to email me at