Providing gourmet kai: Top chefs support marae foodbank

By Taroi Black

Some of Auckland’s top chefs are part of the Covid-19 response, providing gourmet meals to Papatūānuku Kōkiri Marae, which responds to 5000 people in need.

Massaman curry with coconut rice, fish and chips and mac and cheese are some of the meals prepped every week. Everybody Eats restaurant founder Nick Loosley has been in collaboration with the marae for the past two months in lockdown.

“We thought about how we could use the skills and the resources we've got to provide something meaningful for them,” he says.

On a usual night the restaurant will cook for 100 to 150 people who dine in. But in this lockdown, businesses are facing it tough as 100 days of the Delta outbreak nears for Auckland. 

However, with Papatūānuku Kōkiri Marae receiving some government funding over the lockdown, this was a way for chefs to continue working.

“We had to close the doors to our restaurant because we're all about bringing people together, which is obviously not allowed in Covid.” Loosley says.

'Ahakoa ko wai - nō hea'

Papatūānuku Kōkiri Marae in Māngere also runs a foodbank where it provides kai parcels for people who range from labourers to lawyers and doctors.

People can apply through the Papatūānuku Kōkiri Marae - Facebook page, site manager Valerie Teraitua says.

“Papatūānuku Kōkiri Marae has been able to provide the services to everybody and there's that kōrero 'ahakoa ko wai - nō hea' (we embrace all people),” she says.

“There are a lot of Māori organisations doing great things and doing extraordinary hours.”

“We've also had an insight into how important it is for those at the higher level to look after those who are distributing and doings things at the grassroots level.”