Marae helps isolating families

The team at Hakatere Marae, from left Tyreece Tahapehi, Hakatere Marae co-ordinator Tania Reuben, Manaakitanga founder TK Paul, Amandlah Tahapehi and head chef Teariki Takairangi.

The surge in covid cases across Mid Canterbury has caught some families out, finding themselves in isolation without adequate food or provisions.

Tania Reuben and TK Paul of Hakatere Marae wanted to help and have launched a charity called Manaakitanga to supply hot meals and care packages to people in need.

TK launched the Manaakitanga Facebook page after feeling helpless seeing a family struggling to cope while in isolation.

“I talked to my mother about wanting to help and she mentioned care packages, and it started from there,” he said.

TK teamed up with Hakatere Marae co-ordinator Tania last Friday and by Tuesday the operation was up and running.

In the first two days the team had made and delivered 285 hot meals.

The marae had plenty of experience organising large volumes of food at short notice.

“We were the welfare centre when the flooding happened last year and we hold Tangihanga here so we’re used to pulling meals together in a short amount of time,” Tania said.

Other charities have got on board to help out including the Salvation Army foodbank supplying food parcels, care packages from Safer Mid and South Canterbury, Kai for Kids giving the food containers and drivers from Volunteering Mid Canterbury delivering the meals.

“They have been awesome, it’s good that we all work together and we’re on the same page,” Tania said.

People who are in need can request help by sending a private message to the Manaakitanga Facebook page.

“We’re catering from the first day of a positive covid test to day five, because the feedback is by day four or five people are getting better by then and they are able to do their own meals.”

TK said there had been some high priority requests “like a single mother with five children and a couple with baby twins.”

Marae cooks, led by Teariki Takairangi, have been busy in the kitchen making meals each day such as spaghetti bolognese with fry bread or macaroni cheese.

“We’re hoping to get another crew in, because we’re here from 9am until 7.30pm and they are all volunteers so it’s a long day, we’re very grateful for their help, they are our Ringawera at the marae,” Tania said.

-By Daniel Tobin