Grilling burg­ers for a cause

North Waikato News - - FRONT PAGE - CAITLIN WAL­LACE

There’s no deny­ing it, Richard Tu­mai makes a mean burger.

But what’s even more sub­stan­tial than his hearty burg­ers, is the Huntly man’s heart of gold.

Through­out the year, Tu­mai and his wife Dolly set up their burger and sausage siz­zle stand in Huntly West.

Com­plete with a one me­tre by one me­tre board full of ran­dom bits of ad­vice and say­ings in­clud­ing ‘‘only losers do stink things,’’ Tu­mai is on a mis­sion to help the com­mu­nity.

They serve up the world fa­mous in Huntly ’easy burger’ chock-full with eggs, onions and ba­con, but Tu­mai’s not there to make a profit.

In­stead, af­ter cov­er­ing their own costs, the cou­ple in­ject their prof­its back into the com­mu­nity - dis­tribut­ing to where the money is needed most, help­ing out the town’s most needy.

‘‘Most of the time we strug­gle to get our money back, but that doesn’t faze us,’’ he said.

The funds he raises nor­mally go to­wards buy­ing sec­ond-hand cloth­ing, cut­lery and food for the peo­ple who are strug­gling most.

It’s a no ques­tions asked pol­icy for Tu­mai on hand­ing out the good­ies - he only wants to help - not pry.

‘‘Some moth­ers walk about five kilo­me­tres to get here.. [but] I don’t delve into their per­sonal lives.’’

A born and bred Ran­giriri lo­cal, Tu­mai said his giv­ing na­ture was ‘‘just how things were done on the marae.’’

Tu­mai started his fundrais­ing about two years ago for com­mu­nity and church groups.

Then he tried to start up his own lit­tle mar­ket but a lack of in­ter­est and com­mit­ment meant he was on his own.

In re­cent times is burger stall was ac­com­pa­nied by a cake stall which has since been closed down and he doesn’t know if they or­gan­is­ers will be back.

The cou­ple serve a range of in­di­vid­u­als - from school kids to builders to gang mem­bers and Tu­mai said he has also felt a pos­i­tive change in the Huntly West at­mos­phere.

‘‘The area has been put down a lot, but it’s not what peo­ple make it out to be.’’

Un­der Waikato District Coun­cil guide­lines he is al­lowed to op­er­ate the fundrais­ing stall 20 times in a year.

Con­tin­u­ing his cur­rent ven­ture he will feed the com­mu­nity any way pos­si­ble.

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