Whānau-driven non-profit feeds hundreds in the Far North

By Jessica Tyson

The non-profit group Papa Honez 'One Whānau At A Time' is helping to feed struggling kaumātua and whānau in the Far North.

'One Whānau' was founded by Hone Martin and his wife. They collect koha, kai and household goods to give away to the less fortunate.

During the recent Covid-19 lockdown, the group has been focused on distributing kai to those in need, especially kaumātua.

Martin said during the lockdown a kuia who just had heart surgery reached out to him.

“An old lady, 75-years-old, just finished having open-heart surgery. She messages me and says ‘Hone, I have not eaten for two to three days. Could you please help me?’ So she was pleading for food. I feed this old lady. She tells me there are other kaumātua that need help,” says Martin.

500 meals in a day

After getting a tonne of free fish from Moana New Zealand fisheries, the group was able to give out 500 free meals in one day to the Kaitaia community.

One Whānau chef Quanah Curreen says the group has been handing the kai out to marae and whānau in need.

“What we’re putting out there is this kaupapa, if you take care of your community by giving then that feedback loop starts and people start giving, and then a few years from now there should be no one left behind in the Far North. No one’s going to be hungry,” he says.

“It’s about showing our communities that through awhi and love that we can actually uplift each other and we can look after each other, and there’s an abundance up here. There’s more than enough going around.”

Fisherman Roger Rawlinson has been helping to collect the fish.

“There is a big need for this fish and there are a lot of people who are happy to receive it. I just get a really uplifting [feeling] that when this fish goes to the needy these hungry kids, I know that this fish is going to a good home and I’ve caught it and they’re eating it and they’re happy, so it makes me happy.”

One Whānau founder Hone Martin with tamariki.  Source / Facebook

Moana New Zealand general manager Mark Ngata says it is a privilege to be able to support non-profit organisations like One Whānau.

“Of course, we wouldn’t be able to do that without our fishermen who are out there every day doing the business and catching the fish for us.”

Moana New Zealand also provides free fish to non-profit groups Kia Ika and the Māori Women's Welfare League.

Dr Julia Popata, from the Ngāti Hine Toa a Muriwai Māori Women's Welfare League, says “every little bit helps”.

“It’s about whānau working together and for our kaumātua and our mokopuna because they’re our next generation that’s coming through.”

Martin says he hopes to make One Whānau a nationwide kaupapa.

“There’s brightness in the Far North right now whānau and it’s not me, it’s all of us. All I’m trying to do is keep the light alive. We do less hui more 'doey', that's what we believe in.”

Anyone interested in supporting their cause can check out the initiatives on their Facebook page or website.