Whānau koha kai in the eye of the storm

By Waimanea Nuri

As the majority of Wakatāne prepared to evacuate due to the cyclone warnings, Te Whitinga Noema Wakahuirua-Sullivan continued to feed and assist whānau in need.

Wakahuirua-Sullivan is a Whakatāne local and works tirelessly to produce healthy kai for his whānau and his community.

Sullivan says his job as a food producer is unlike any other, since it’s about connecting with the kai, harvesting kai as sustainably as possible, and sharing kai with people in need - "no matter the time or weather".

“We all need the nourishment within our bodies, kai to put nutrients into our hinengaro and kai to share with others and that's what it’s all about".

He says none of his food has set prices because it is all all about the Māori term ‘koha atu, koha mai’, meaning to give and to receive.

Sullivan believes that regardless of who people are or where they come from, they must always be nice and share aroha because they never know what is going on in other people's life.

“If you have pūtea, other kai, and even if you have nothing but aroha, that is still a beautiful koha. It is all about sharing and caring, especially in this weather.

“Please, if you need any kai, or help, seek the support you need. Don’t be afraid or too proud to ask for support and if you and your whānau are hungry, come on down and get yourself a kai.”