Everything seems worse when you're hungry, stressed or both.

And, although there is help available, sometimes the need just can't wait.

That's why Tūrangi Police and Tūrangi Fire Brigade have both taken to carrying kai parcels in their vehicles - boxes of food they can hand out to families in need.

Child poverty: High housing costs emerge as significant factor
Brian Fallow: Child-poverty targets just got tougher to reach
Number of children living in poor households jumps in 2018 year, latest figures show


The kai parcels are intended to provide enough food to tide a family over until they can access help via Tūrangi Foodbank or Winz.

Sergeant Te Reipa Morunga, of Tūrangi Police, says police and fire services often get called to jobs at people's homes and, while there, may notice that the cupboards are bare.

The initiative came from Tūrangi Community Constable John Malpas who previously worked in Huntly and had contact with the charity, Rapid Relief Team.

Rapid Relief Team is a global charitable organisation that believes in expressing Biblical principles of care and compassion. As part of that, it donates family food boxes to various New Zealand police stations to be given to families who need them.

Every month for the next five months a pallet of the kai and hygiene parcels will arrive at the Tūrangi Police Station and police and fire staff will keep them in their vehicles to distribute as needed.

Morunga says it made sense for police to partner with the fire brigade because between them they can reach more families.

"Because they [the fire brigade] go to emergencies that we wouldn't go to and vice versa, even simple things like smoke alarms, they sometimes see families that are not in good shape. Being able to give these packs as a koha for them and their kids is a good help in emergency times."

The hygiene packs have sample size packs of disinfectants, hand towels, toilet paper, soaps and shampoos, while the kai parcels have non-perishable food items such as canned food, UHT milk, Weetbix, biscuits, soup and muesli bars.


Morunga says the packs are a stopgap to supply families with essentials until they can access social service agencies and Malpas makes contact later to ensure that the families are getting support.

The kai parcels only started this week and Morunga says they have given out several already.

"The troops carry two boxes in their cars as they go around and Fire are doing the same. You've got to have it there to pass it on."

Morunga says people cope with adversity better if they are not worrying about food.

"If people have food in their pukus and on their shelves, kids can go to school and it sets them up better for the day."

Subscribe to Premium