Pā taka kai shows spirit of Ro­torua gen­eros­ity

Rotorua Weekender - - Front Page - Shauni James

Lo­cal child­care cen­tres have been work­ing hard to make a dif­fer­ence in the com­mu­nity, and help en­sure peo­ple don’t go hun­gry, by set­ting up pā­taka kai.

Pā­taka kai means store­house pantry in te reo Māori. These pā­taka kai al­low lo­cals to ei­ther do­nate food/ goods or, if they are in need, to re­ceive food/goods.

Agape Chris­tian Preschool ad­min­is­tra­tor Madeleine Quin­tal says as a Chris­tian preschool Agape had been look­ing for com­mu­nity out­reach projects to get in­volved in.

She says Agape is a non-profit cen­tre and its vi­sion in the com­mu­nity is “to help those in need and show Christ’s love”.

“Part of the vi­sion with the project is to teach the preschool chil­dren about gen­eros­ity and em­pa­thy, and we hope to have the chil­dren grow fresh pro­duce to put into the pā­taka.”

Madeleine says she bought a sec­ond-hand pantry/cup­board and then weather-proofed it be­fore hand­ing it over to graf­fiti artist and preschool fa­ther Ja­cob Chriso­hoou, who painted it.

It’s been put on preschool prop­erty near the foot­path, and Madeleine first stocked it up with items such as milk, toma­toes, pota­toes, bread and ap­ples.

She says after she put up a Face­book post about the pā­taka kai, the next day do­na­tions of items such as baby for­mula, food and hot choco­late came in. “It made my day. I find I keep check­ing it and hop­ing it’s help­ing some­one. The re­sponse it got was cool.”

She says the re­sponse to the post also showed there are other pā­taka kai around the com­mu­nity, which is great to see.

She says there are a few schools in their area.

“I think there’s a lot of kids that go to school hun­gry, so if walk­ing past they can grab some­thing im­me­di­ately and sub­tly.”

She says the pā­taka kai is a good op­tion for peo­ple who want to help the com­mu­nity but don’t know how they can do­nate.

The cen­tre’s pā­taka kai also has a plaque in re­mem­brance of Tr­ish But­ter­worth, who was a beloved teacher at the cen­tre be­fore she was trag­i­cally killed by a fall­ing tree on Jan­uary 6, 2018.

Tr­ish died when an an­cient oak tree with a rot­ting trunk on the cor­ner of Arawa and Amo­hia Sts fell on her car dur­ing a storm.

“Tr­ish was so pas­sion­ate about peo­ple. Her heart was so kind and I think ev­ery­one she met saw that in her,” Madeleine says.

“She had a real love for peo­ple. I think it’s a nice way for the staff here to re­mem­ber her and have that visual re­mem­brance. I think she would have been pas­sion­ate about this project as well.”

Madeleine says the pā­taka kai does come down to hon­esty in the com­mu­nity, with peo­ple wel­come to take items, but asked to only take what they need and try to en­sure there is enough for ev­ery­one.

Best­start Lyn­more has also be­gun a pā­taka kai for their fam­i­lies.

Cen­tre man­ager Sarah John­stone says this idea started with a par­ent from the cen­tre do­nat­ing a box full of gro­cery items each week.

“They wanted us to give to our fam­i­lies who we thought needed sup­port, as many fam­i­lies have been af­fected through the loss of in­come through the Covid-19 pan­demic.

“We de­cided to have this avail­able for all our whā­nau/fam­i­lies. The idea is take what you need and give what you can.”

Ro­torua Cit­i­zens Ad­vice Bureau man­ager Jane Eynon-richards says any re­source where peo­ple in need can get ex­tra help is great.

“The Covid-19 cri­sis has shown not just how much need there is in the com­mu­nity but also how gen­er­ous the com­mu­nity is.”

Photo / An­drew Warner

Artist Ja­cob Chriso­hoou, Ly­dia Chriso­hoou, 3, May­belle Quin­tal, 3, Maddie Quin­tal, and Nanette Alexan­der with Agape Chris­tian Preschool’s pa¯ taka kai.

Photo / Sup­plied

Asher Ager-tai­wha and cen­tre man­ager Sarah John­stone with Best­start Lyn­more’s pa¯ taka kai.

Photo / An­drew Warner

The pa¯ taka kai plaque in re­mem­brance of Tr­ish But­ter­worth.

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