Pukepoto man Brian Tunstall knows how to swing a hammer, so it didn't take him long at all to knock up Kaitaia's first paataka kai (food cupboard).

Last week it was transported to its home outside Mana House (60 North Road) in Kaitaia, and stocked with fruit, vegetables, bread and other comestibles that anyone and everyone was (and is) welcome to take.

The paataka kai, the first north of Paihia, is a simple concept — those who are struggling a little take what they need, and those who have food to spare leave it there.

Open the Curtain manager Trudy Brown said at Friday's blessing that she hoped whanau in need would help themselves, and give back if they could. And she wanted them to spread the word.


It was Mr Tunstall who had the idea, after seeing the concept on the internet. He has since joined Kaitaia's Time Bank, which organised it (in conjunction with OTC), Ms Brown saying it would be well looked after, while Mana founder Hone Harawira said he was proud to have it there.

And Mr Tunstall said he would be happy to build more, if someone could come up with the materials needed.