19 Oct 2015

The Begging Sign

From New Zealand Society, 7:48 pm on 19 October 2015

On the streets of our bigger cities it's easy to spot the beggars.

Begging in New Zealand: Daniel's sign

Daniel's sign. Photo: RNZ

They wait where the people are, huddling in doorways and lounging on the pavement, shaking cups at passers-by, sometimes loudly demanding but often silently imploring.

Some stare directly; others are quite unable to meet the eye of those they ask for help. All have a different story for why they ended up here.

And all have their own techniques for obtaining money, food and company. Daniel, as he wants to be known, has been homeless for several years now and regularly needs to supplement his benefit by begging on Auckland's Queen Street.

And while he hasn't been doing it for that long, he thinks he's pretty good at it. Daniel doesn't say much when he begs.

He tells Spoken Features producer Justin Gregory that instead he lets his sign do the talking.