The marae responding to food insecurity in Tāmaki Makaurau

Papatūānuku Kōkiri Marae, located in Māngere, has been on the frontline of food insecurity in south Auckland for almost 30 years.

Published: Rāpare, 23 Mahuru, 2021 | Thursday, 23 September 2021

With Tāmaki Makaurau now in its sixth week of lockdown, the marae has distributed thousands of food packs, sanitary items, and 9089kgs of whole snapper, snapper heads and frames to their community, many of which have been hard hit.

Kaiwhakahaere Valerie Teraitua says she’s seeing people from all walks of life lining up at their food drives.

“We see masses of cars outside as well as people contacting us through Kai Ika and our marae contact form, wanting fish heads and kai,” said Valerie.

“Many declaring loss of income, and wanting to support their kids and whānau,” she added.

With strong links to the community, funding through Te Puni Kōkiri’s Building Sustainable and Resilient Communities fund has allowed the marae to step up quickly and effectively to support their community this delta outbreak.

“We’re so grateful to get this funding. We’ve been able to build the capability of our kaimahi in website development, leadership training and implement Trello (project management software). A highlight has also been the appointment of an administrator, which has alleviated the load.

This means we can really respond to whānau and build a resilient community that thrives, not just survive,” Valerie said.

Papatūānuku are champions in regenerative growing practices, educating locals on Hua parakore principles and tuning into the Maramataka to grow kai. They also run te reo classes and mana wahine and rangatahi programmes.

“We’re a big whānau bubble. This has allowed us to be more efficient with maintaining our marae maara (community garden) so we can provide fresh veggies in kai boxes, packing, distribution, marae renovations, and online schooling.

We have a well-supported system and our rangatahi are now leading operations and our tamariki learning life skills in on and around the marae,” said Valerie.

Tāmaki Makaurau Senior Advisor Oriana Rarere-Wilton has been working alongside the marae and says the Building Sustainable and Resilient Communities fund has come at the right time for smaller organisations.

“Papatūānuku are providing for whānau who are in need, and this has given them the ability to step-up their response,” said Oriana.

“We’re working with a range of iwi and Māori groups across the motu to get the resources to communities in real time, exactly what the fund was set-up to do,” she added.

Photo credit: Papatūānuku Kōkiri Marae