Papa Hone fights poverty in the Northland 'one whānau at a time'

By Mare Haimona-Riki

While most people spent their time in lockdown relaxing in their homes, a northland couple was busy delivering more than a thousand cooked meals to kaumatua, who had lost their usual support.

It started nine months ago when Hone Martin and his partner Rachel Kearney heard a kuia crying with her mokopuna.  

“I knew that cry, it’s the hungry cry,”  Martin says.

“So we stopped to give them a kai, and from there it blew up. The following week, we’re doing community kai, and then from there, it went to gathering clothes, and then it was collecting furniture.

Source / Moana New Zealand 

The kaupapa is appropriately called Papa Hones one whanau at a time and, since they’ve been in operation, they have received support from various organisations and businesses as he and his small team trek the northland, helping as many whanau as possible.  

“We have heaps of help from locals, fisherman, butchers, so there’s help from everywhere, but it’s mostly the community itself.”

They've launched a website where the public can support this initiative, and  Martin says he didn't realise how much it was needed until he witnessed the poverty himself. 

“The stuff that we see, I could write a book about it. I didn’t realise the struggle was that bad in the far north."