Western Heights High School is supporting the local community and whānau by preparing and cooking hangi packs for Matariki week.
Students have been working with charity organisation Kura Kai, which donates chest freezers to high schools and ensures the freezers were kept well stocked by working together with community volunteers to prepare nutritious meals.
“Matariki gives us a wonderful opportunity to share our manaakitanga and aroha, to give back to our community and to help those in need,” said Kura Kai general manager Marie Paterson.
The meals were available to people in a variety of situations - from whānau experiencing sickness and bereavement to families in emergency accommodation.
“Our kaupapa is a simple one - ‘whānau feeding whānau’. Some of our schools like Western Heights High School work closely with their regional attendance team. When making home visits, they are able to turn up with meals which makes a difference,” says Paterson.
The head of food and fabric at Western Heights School, Peter Turner, said the initiative showed students first-hand how they could give back to their community.
“The process in preparing these packs really brought the students together and built upon the whanaungatanga (kinship).
“The giving of kai, with the valued assistance from our partnership with Kura Kai, has helped us with showing manaakitanga to others, while also celebrating Matariki,” says Turner.
The school was given permission to cook the hangi in a steam box at Ōhinemutu.
For some students, it was their first time preparing and cooking a hangi.
Turner said: “Keeping our rangatahi in education at this level is increasingly more difficult. We’re empowering our rangatahi with the value of manaakitanga (caring for others) and making the decision to stay in school a little easier.”
More information and ways to support Kura Kai can be found on its website: https://kurakai.co.nz/