Living Rough: Hunter Gatherers of Tiamoana

Leo Revell, Chrystal Jaye


This article is based on a qualitative study of modest scope that set out to gain a sense of the daily life of homeless people in a New Zealand regional city. We present our data in the form of an ‘impressionistic tale’ (van Maanen 2011) to convey a day in the life of a homeless person living rough on the streets. Our findings confirm what is already known; that homeless people occupy the crevices of urban spaces. Their daily work is driven by imperatives of finding food, clothing and shelter as well as alcohol and other substances, and keep- ing out of the way of the public and the police. Despite the hardship, some homeless people enjoy the freedom of being feral. We propose that re-housing homeless people requires addressing structural barriers that compound the harsh realities of homelessness such as anomalies in government and social agencies and the social stigma accrued from criminal records. It also requires overcoming the negative capital accumulated from adverse lifecourses, and improved government support for the social and health services that care for the most marginalised people in society.


homelessness, stigma, deviance, healthcare, life course

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