By Lyndsay Freer

One hundred high quality coats, specially tailored to fit a wide range of sizes, have been gifted to the Catholic Church in Auckland for distribution to the city’s homeless, by one of the oldest institutions of Western and Christian civilisation, the Sovereign Order of Malta,
through its Sydney members. The coats are being distributed through Catholic agencies in Auckland through their outreach in the central city and south Auckland agencies.

A lay religious order of the Catholic Church since 1084, the Sovereign Order of Malta has diplomatic relations with more than 100 states and the European Union, and permanent observer status at the United Nations. It is neutral, impartial and apolitical.

In the 11th century the Knights of Malta, known then as “Knights Hospitaller”, established a hospital in Jerusalem to care for pilgrims of any religious faith or race. Today, the Order of Malta whose motto is “Upholding human dignity and caring for people in need” is active
in 120 countries caring through its medical, social and humanitarian works.

Day-to-day, its broad spectrum of social projects provides a constant support for forgotten or excluded members of society.

It is especially involved in helping people living in the midst of armed conflicts and natural disasters by providing medical assistance, caring for refugees, and distributing medicines and basic equipment for survival.

The Australian Association of the Order of Malta was formed in 1974, and operates across every state and territory of Australia. It now has several members in New Zealand, based in Wellington.

The Order of Malta is committed to serving the poor and sick worldwide and has done so for more than 900 years.

St Patrick’s Cathedral in Wyndham St in the CBD distributed coats to the homeless in the central city.

The James Liston Hostel in Howe St gave them out to many homeless people, men and women, who go there in the mornings for showers.

Otara parish works constantly with the homeless in its area, and prepared coats for distribution on June 30 and July 1.