Kōkiri Marae

 

Kōkiri Marae supports thousands of people in Lower Hutt, providing essential social and health services to the community.

Manager Teresea Olsen shares how they provided more than 13,000 food parcels during the COVID-19 lockdown, the Pātaka Kai which grew out of the crisis and how Kaibosh food is helping them to feed their community.

“We provide a comprehensive range of social services and health services for whānau to support whānau to be well and to stay well, which is huge when you’re talking about a population of people that are generally really unwell. So it’s hard work, but rewarding, you know.

COVID for us was one of the most amazing periods that I can remember, the community spirit just came to the fore. Lots of kind of things were happening. Whānau could ring our 0800 number anytime day and night and we’d pack food and deliver in the weekends as well. We had to enlist the help of a whole lot of other people to do that.

Over the COVID period the amount of food that we received from Kaibosh was just phenomenal, because we were providing up to a thousand food parcels a week and we wouldn’t have been able to do that without the support of Kaibosh and organisations like Kaibosh, they just came in and helped to support us. It was just absolutely amazing.

We often had calls from people ringing for other people saying there’s a big family down the road, and I know they’re struggling. Do you think you could take them something. We had lots of calls, people ringing up and apologising cause they needed some help for this week and saying, you know, when we’re in a better position, we will pay if forward.

 

What we came to realise that a large number of the kai parcels we were delivering was to whānau in Wainui. And we don’t have any kind of food distribution place there except the Kaibosh that were getting at the community center, so we decided that actually we’d continue to provide that service in Wainui. But we didn’t just want it to be around providing kai to people. We wanted to look more into the food sovereignty space. And so decided to develop a Pātaka Kai where the giving of kai is just a part of it.

We’re lucky enough that one of the local churches gave us their big community hall for us to set up free of charge, and then directly at the back of the church there’s a big piece of land that belongs to the council so we’ve negotiated with the council to be able to develop an urban farm there. We collaborated with Common Unity, during that COVID period, and they supplied us with over a thousand meals a week to give to whānau. And so they’ve continued to support us and so they’re gonna help us develop our urban farm so that we can teach the community to grow kai, but also how to cook it. What’s the use of having the food if you can’t cook it, you know? Our intention is to grow it, support the community to learn how to grow it, and then to support them to be able to cook it so then they can provide kai for their whānau.

There is so much wastage of food in this country, it’s just really criminal. We can do so much better than we’re currently doing. We need to be held accountable for the amount of food that we waste in this country, when people are hungry. An organisation like Kaibosh is really really important to be able to gather that kai, to distribute it to organisations like ours, to give out to whānau. And those organisations that give their food over, instead of ploughing it back into the ground and throwing it in the rubbish bins, I can only commend you, because if all organisations did that we wouldn’t have hungry people in our country.”

Kaibosh ensures quality food isn’t needlessly wasted, instead reaching those who need it.

We rescue quality surplus food and redistribute it to over 100 charities and community groups in Wellington, the Hutt Valley, Kāpiti and Horowhenua.

Help us support organisations like Kōkiri Marae to feed those who are hungry.

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Learn more about Kōkiri Marae

Special thanks to Billie Brook Photography