Ka Pai Kai Rotorua has been recognised nationally, winning the Minister of Health's Award for Maori Organisation Volunteer Team at the 2018 Ministry of Health Volunteer Awards.

The awards recognise the thousands of unsung heroes who support New Zealand's health and disability services.

Ka Pai Kai Rotorua is a not-for-profit school lunch service in Rotorua that makes nourishing school lunches fresh to order each day.

Ka Pai Kai Rotorua board chairperson Jasmin Jackson said they were incredibly grateful for the work put into their organisation by community volunteers.

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"They are not only in the kitchen making lunches, but also out delivering kai to our schools and also providing admin support.

"This award represents all the collective effort put in to ensure our tamariki have access to affordable and nutritious meals at school," she said.

Board secretary Natalie Richards said their mission was to make nourishing school lunches affordable and accessible, but most importantly, normal, for tamariki in Rotorua.

"We believe all tamariki should be able to eat a nourishing lunch, regardless of their parents' income. The support we get from approximately 25 volunteers allows us to keep our costs low so winning this award is a huge acknowledgement of their work".

The 2018 Minister of Health Volunteer Awards were presented on June 18, during National Volunteer Week, at the Grand Hall Parliament in Wellington.

This year's recipients are:

Health Volunteer of the Year – Kim Gosman
Health Care Provider Service Team Volunteers – Servants Health Centre Volunteers
Health Care Provider Service Individual Winners – Darren Best
Community or NGO Health Service Team Volunteers – Te Aroha Community Transport Service
Community or NGO Health Service Individual Winners – Irene Pringle
Māori Health Team Volunteers – Ka Pai Kai Rotorua
Maori Health Volunteer Individual Winners – Kim Gosman
Pacific Health Team Volunteers – Tangata Toa volunteers
Pacific Health Volunteer Individual Winners – Sonya Apa Temata
Youth Health Team Volunteers – Youth Advisory Group, Skylight Trust
Youth Health Team Individual Winners – Dr Assil Russell
Long Service awards – Marjorie White

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