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Kaiaua volunteer firefighters Te Wai Unasa, left, Mike Laker, Tess Watts and Mark Crowther have helped with the packaging and delivery of kai packs. File Photo: SUPPLIED

Kai packs provide isolation lifeline

Kai packs containing fresh local produce are being dished out to many isolating families in Kaiaua’s community.
Organiser Te Wai Unasa told The Profile the initiative was put together by Wharekawa Marae in collaboration with Kaiaua Volunteer Rural Fire Force to prepare for Covid-19.
“We knew that Omicron was going to hit our community based on the increasing numbers of cases and the amount of locals who need to travel for work and especially up to Auckland,” she said.
“So we needed to put things in place to provide support to whānau and community members who might not have access to support for shopping and food available.
“Our community have been somewhat prepared, some have been able to stock up but others might’ve run out because their shopping day is a specific day of the week then they’ve come down with Covid.”
Te Wai said Wharekawa Marae sourced funding through Te Kotahi a Tāmaki to initiate their Kai Hub. They began distributing the packs on March 1 when they found out about Omicron cases in their community.
The packs, which are also distributed in Waitakaruru, Miranda and Whakatīwai, contain canned goods, bread, butter and milk and Kaiaua Community Garden members donated fresh fruit and vegetables.
“Some of our community garden members who have chickens have also donated eggs and our local orchard has donated avocados and honey,” Te Wai said.
“There’s a few meals which can be made out of [the kai packs] in conjunction with pantry staples and other items people might have at home.”
Organiser Tess Watts said the value of the kai packs was between $60 to $100 based on the number of family members.
“Now that the isolation period has dropped from 10 to seven days, we’re still doing the same amount in each kai pack no matter how many days they’re in isolation,” she said.
Te Wai said families had been “grateful” and “very happy” to receive the kai packs.
“A lot of them don’t know what support is out there… [for them] to know there’s kai packs from our locals has been quite lovely as we are a community who try and support each other as much as we can because it’s a small area,” she said.
Te Wai said they would continue distributing the kai packs for as long as the Omicron outbreak lasted. “Tess and myself are the main contacts as well as the [Wharekawa] Marae Reservation Trust, and when people reach out to us, we get a kai pack together and deliver it to them,” she said.
“We would like to acknowledge, Wharekawa Marae, Kaiaua Rural Fire Force, Kaiaua Community Garden and Te Kotahi a Tāmaki for their funding.”
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