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The team behind Paeroa’s first social supermarket, run by Te Whāriki Manawāhine O Hauraki in collaboration with Foodstuffs. Photo: KELLEY TANTAU

Paeroa primed for first social supermarket

A “social supermarket” set to open in Paeroa will break down the barriers of food access, providing another place for people to shop that preserves their mana.
Te Whāriki Manawāhine O Hauraki has partnered with Foodstuffs North Island to expand on the goodwill of its community Pātaka Kai (food pantry).
Having since moved into a bigger premises on Puke Rd in Paeroa, the kaimahi (workers) behind the scenes of Te Whāriki Manawāhine O Hauraki are preparing to open the doors of the social supermarket – the first of its kind in the Hauraki-Coromandel.
“We’re going to be offering a supermarket-style environment where people experiencing food insecurity will have the opportunity to choose items that meet their dietary, cultural, and personal preferences,” Te Whāriki Manawāhine O Hauraki board of trustee member Tania Weidenbohm said.
PAK’nSAVE Thames, under the guidance of owner operator Matt Heap, will act as the buddy store for the new initiative – which will be called Pātaka Kai – Hauraki Social Supermarket.
He told The Profile that the “essence” of the scheme was “about dignity and choice”.
“A lot of people are reluctant to come in when [the food] is free; there’s a lot of pride involved,” he said. “So, the principle behind this is that people can choose what they want… there’s a nominal donation based on the size of the [customer’s] shop.”
Matt explained that while the original Pātaka would continue to run as is, the new social supermarket would utilise a points system, meaning every product had a point that reflected “the true cost, plus health benefits”.
“Seedlings, for example, are free.
“But the best thing is, you don’t just walk in, you have a conversation with people – there’s a real human touch.”
Foodstuffs North Island opened its first social supermarket in partnership with Wellington City Council back in March, 2021. It has since partnered with community organisations to open a further seven social supermarkets across the North Island, with Paeroa’s Pātaka Kai set to become number nine.
Paeroa’s social supermarket will be managed by Selina Eagle, and she, alongside project manager Sue King and kaimahi Nadine Hamon said they were excited to finally see the initiative take shape.
It will open its doors officially on December 18, and there will be a booking system in place to allow the supermarket to remain uncongested and personable.
Selina stressed that the Pātaka Kai remained a place of “no judgement or discrimination” and all were welcome.
In addition to providing food support, Te Whāriki Manawāhine O Hauraki also offer wrap-around services to help individuals access support that best meets their needs, as well as promoting overall well-being.
Pātaka Kai – Hauraki Social Supermarket is located at 7 Puke Rd, Paeroa.