Janine Kaipo says some people take ingredients like flour and milk for granted - but these basic items are a huge help for families struggling before Christmas.

This year 1000 boxes - filled with non-perishables like flour, canned foods, cereal, long-life milk, sugar, pasta and rice - will be delivered to Northland families in need through the Christmas Box Project.

Te Hau Awhiowhio o Otangarei Trust is the main recipient and distributor of the boxes in Whangarei, and Te Rau Matatini the main recipient and distributor for the Hokianga and mid-North area.

Ms Kaipo, general manager of Te Hau Awhiowhio o Otangarei Trust, said although the boxes are filled with basics, they make a difference.


"None of these are flash foods, they're all basic foods. People think 'oh well there is heaps of hampers' but these are more the pantry filler types that will get you through a day or the next day.

"People are really humble. One said we never knew how bad they needed this. When it came that was their rations."

The boxes will be packed and delivered to people in need today. It is the third year Te Hau Awhiowhio has received the boxes and the first year Te Rau Matatini has been a part of the project.

This year Mrs Kaipo said they had brought in help from marae in the community, both in Whangarei and the mid-North, who would help pack the boxes and deliver them to their communities.

"It makes sense because they're the hubs of their communities. The good thing is if they happen at the marae they can bring their communities to the marae and maybe make an event and make sure people in their communities are okay for Christmas."

Mrs Kaipo said this year 20 boxes each were going to Te Tai Tokerau Emergency Housing Trust and the Forget me Not Adult Day Centre.

Te Rau Matatini chief executive Maria Baker was excited to be able to deliver boxes to families in the mid-North for the first time.

"It's quite exciting. Giving is something that is really lovely, and knowing you're contributing."