A photo of Lewis Stanton, aka Hone Ma Heke, snapped outside a Nelson petrol station “begs a lot of questions” according to Nelson Live reader who snapped the photo. “Considering he begs in Nelson’s main street and does not receive welfare.”
When presented with the photo Lewis laughed. “That’s funny,” he says. “That’s the sort of mentality that we are allowing to still continue in today’s society.”
Lewis says he makes less than $2 an hour begging on the streets, albeit not vocally. He says he makes his money “simply by human goodwill” and people giving from the heart.
On a napkin Lewis pulled out from a binder clip, it shows an income of around $92 in the past week although he says it can vary.
Lewis says the reader’s comments are bullying but he does not mind photos being taken of him, as it’s a public place.
“That is me standing there, yes it is, and no I don’t drive,” he says. “Maybe they should think outside their own little square because I’m actually filling up my mother’s car while she’s actually in there paying for it.”
Lewis questioned the mentality behind questioning his presence at the petrol station.
“Are they allowed to fill up somebody else’s car? Then why aren’t I entitled to fill somebody’s car?” he says.
“Why shouldn’t I have a car? Everybody else is entitled to. They’re all entitled to have a cellphone doesn’t mean that because I’m a beggar [I’m not allowed to].”
“If they’re all entitled to be able to have a quality of life then why aren’t I allowed to have a quality of life? That’s what all this bull $%*& is about.”