New Pātaka Kai offers MSD, Oranga Tamariki services

By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

A new South Auckland community Pātaka Kai is offering MSD and Oranga Tamariki services along with free food and personal essentials.

Co-founder Liz Kiriona says they are the first to do so, to meet the multiple needs of their community.

Liz Kiriona says it's the Pātaka Kai that keeps on giving.

“We also have frozens which we have in a freezer on site for meat and things like that,” says Kiriona.

“We were looking at food that can go a long way for big families. You know it's not gonna be flash kai, it's gonna be kai that they can make a lot out of. Women's sanitary products we have on hand we also make sanitary pads.”

Rata Vine Community Officer Waimaria Johnson says they will also offers wrap around services to ensure whānau get the proper support.

“We deal with courses, Oranga Tamariki, Work and Income, Housing NZ. Anything they need we get advocates for them,” says Johnson.

There are 80 Pātaka Kai across the country that have helped over 5, 000 people, and 112 under construction.

The co-leader of the Green Party says the large number is concerning.

“That indicates the extent of the whānau in poverty, so that's the task of the government to empower these families,” says Marama Davidson, “but yes right now we need to support Pantries, through funding and partnering with community groups that have established Open Street Pantries.

“We do have a lot of families that come through our doors and do look for food grants, food assistance,” says Johnson, “because a lot of government departments have not really offered them a lot so yeah we're just dealing with a lot of whānau in need.”

This Pātaka Kai has been a year in the making and is supported through donations and suppliers such as Guru Nanaks Free Kitichen, Soup Kitchen.

“It's about gathering all the families, Māori, our relations of the Pacific Islands, and other ethnic groups at our house that safeguards our community,” says local kamātua Tunuiarangi McLean.

Kiriona wants the Pātaka Kai and added services to give families the hand up the need to no longer require it.