One hot shower, one cold pie, one roof over his head

One hot shower, one cold pie, one roof over his head

MAHVASH ALI

It was his first hot shower in more than a decade.

Rob Marriner said he stood underneath the water for one hour, until it ran cold. Then he went to sleep for nine hours - the longest he has been able to sleep in years.

Marriner had been homeless since 1984. For 33 years he roamed the streets of West Auckland.

Rob Marriner this week moved into private rented accommodation.

"I still remember the day I moved out of my home. My father's abuse drove me out."

But he moved into a two-bedroom one-bathroom house in Sunnyvale this week.

"This is my house," says Rob Marriner, standing in the doorway of his home after 33 years on the streets.

His new home has furniture, courtesy of St John New Zealand, and he even has a flatmate.

But Marriner said living under a roof could be daunting.

"It's scary, spooky and strange."

Marriner says he is living "the life of luxury" now.
He said he felt like a baby having to adjust to a completely new way of life.

On his first night in the house he ended up having a cold pie for dinner because he did not know how to turn on the oven.

"We left our pies in the oven for two hours and still ended up having them cold. I did not know there was a switch."

Marriner says he did not know the oven had to be switched on to work so he had a cold pie for dinner.

However, the next morning he said he had a "feast" for breakfast with his flatmate.

"We had 24 eggs with two loaves of bread. We figured out how to turn the thing on."

Marriner said living in a home was the "life of luxury".

"The streets have many secrets," says Rob Marriner.

"You can have coffee when you want and open the fridge when you like."

He said he could not sleep the first night in his new home.

"We moved the furniture about four times from room to room."

Marriner said it was nice to make a bed in the morning instead of wrapping up his bedding at the break of dawn like he had done for 33 years.

He was also getting used to washing his clothes.

The 54-year-old said he always dreamt of living in a home.

It was after two deaths in his family that he became more serious about achieving his dream.

Marriner's sister was murdered in 2014. The following year he said his mother died of a "broken heart".

"She couldn't deal with my sister's death."

He became involved with Taniwha Tales, an initiative of Te Whanau o Waipareira Trust launched in 2015, aimed at helping the homeless find a safe place in society.

Through them he found a new life and a new home, he said.

On the streets he would go to The Salvation Army and get whatever had been donated to charity, and Marriner said he found ways to get food, shelter and stay warm.

"The streets have many secrets," he said.

But there was one thing he did miss about being homeless.

"I had no bills when I was homeless."