New Māori food network ready to feed 200,000 whānau

By Taroi Black

A Māori food network has kicked off catering to more than 200,000 families in the Auckland region. 

The uptake is led by Māori providers and up to 12 marae known as Te Taumata Kōrero. Its main objective is using its network base to access essentials from supermarkets and food distributors to roll its scheme out using Ministry of Social Development funding. 

The Manukau Urban Māori Authority has opened a 400sqm2 warehouse to store $250,000  worth of kai. Frontline leader John Cameron says it will alleviate shortages for whānau whose local grocery stores have become locations of interest and closed.   

"A lot of the supermarkets that are unable to be accessed or either closed for their own lockdown means our whānau have to go somewhere”, he says.

Lockdown has also seen a climb in unemployment as whānau struggle to afford kai, which is a major factor in the network’s partnership with outsourcing its supply.

“We haven't jumped the queue as such because the food that goes into the supermarket is still going into the supermarket. But we're getting it straight from the source and bringing it to us.”