Rauawaawa Kaumatua Charitable Trust (RKCT) together with local kaumatua have launched a first bundle of three Māori-designed cookie cutters (kuki reka kani).
The cookie cutters were inspired and named by the kaumātua who chose paua, the single twist (pikorua) and basket (kete) as the first designs.
At the beginning of next year, the trust also plans to launch an additional three cookie cutters in the design of a koru, fishhook (hei matau) and double twist.
Kaumātua came up with the idea for the cookie cutters as part of a whānau ora innovation project last year.
RKCT CEO Rangimahora Reddy says: "Cooking therapy is often used for people with dementia. One of our trustees worked as a manager of different rest homes and found that not a lot of tools use a Māori approach for cooking tools."
The cookie cutters are a first attempt to start changing that.
After the Covid-19 pandemic, the kaumātua wanted to support the local community, so the cutters are created and manufactured in the Waikato.
For that, they got local design and manufacturing company MWDesign on board. MWDesign developed drawings for the kaumātua to critique and feedback.
"We also worked together with our chefs to make sure the cookie cutters work with dough," says Reddy.
Kaumātua also requested to have the youth (rangatahi) working on the project. Currently there is a team of 10 involved.
RKCT chairman Owen Purcell says: "The enterprising kaumatua are proud to celebrate a product they inspired and helped shape. I'm certain they'll now want to do much more in the innovation area."
Reddy agrees, saying that the trust together with the kaumātua are looking at doing chocolate moulds.
The cookie cutters are available to order online here.