Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei delivers kai packs to kuia and kaumātua

By Jessica Tyson

Despite the country in lockdown, some food delivery services are up and running delivering kai to peoples' doors so they don't need to leave home.

One of the services is Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Whai Maia, delivering kai and care packages to whānau in Tāmaki Makaurau.

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Whai Maia chief operating officer Tom Irvine says kaimahi have prepared packs, “Kono o te aroha with korero, kai, hygiene packs, safety and wellbeing messaging and cultural resources.

“This is the time for Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei services to connect with, deliver to and empower our whānau.”

Kai being prepared. Source: File

Providing kaumātua and kuia with kai and support is the top priority since the elderly are most at-risk in being affected by COVID-19.

“We are prioritising our kaumātua and kuia so they have what they need and they have the networks that are available to them. We have established a call centre and are ringing out whānau, says Irvine.

"Our kaumātua and kuia are resilent, humble, nervous yet prepared.”

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei's Whai Maia. Source: File

Kaimahi are taking the required health and safety measures as they prepare kai at the marae. Those delivering the packs wear face masks and gloves. They drop the packs off at residents’ doorsteps and walk away to ensure they keep a fair distance from other people.

“We’ve put a number of initiatives in place to support our whanau, all using strict social distancing and the Minister of Health COVID-19 protocols,” Irvine says.

As well as providing kai to their descendants, Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei's other health services will continue.

“We will continue to operate because we are an essential service.  We will continue to deliver our GP service, Ōrākei Health, Whānau Ora, Tamariki Ora and our tenancy management programme.”

With no end date in sight for the lockdown, only time will tell how popular this service will become.

“Be strong, be calm, be patient everyone,” Irvine concludes.