Rauawaawa Kaumātua Charitable Trust (RKCT) in Hamilton/Kirikiriroa together with local kaumātua have today launched a second set of three Māori-designed cookie cutters (kuki reka kani).
After the success of the first batch of cookie cutters in shapes of kete (basket), paua and single twist, the new trio consists of a fishhook (hei matau), koru and double twist (pikorua).
Local kaumātua came up with the idea for the cookie cutters as part of a Whānau Ora innovation project in 2019.
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. Reddy says she has been humbled by the popularity of the first batch of cookie cutters.
"We released our first set at the end of November and have already managed to raise over $40,000. Proceeds will go towards Stage 2 of our new age-friendly facility upgrade."
For the new set of cookie cutters, the kaumatua have taken on board the feedback from those who purchased the first set.
"We were also able to gauge the demand and whether it would be successful through social media advertising and key stakeholder input. The results convinced us that our cookie cutters filled a gap in the market, and our kaumātua and team were absolutely thrilled with that," Reddy says.
The large handle of the cookie cutters was initially designed for kaumātua with arthritis and dementia. It is shaped for an easy grip, while the dowel inside provides a natural weight so kaumātua with arthritis do not have to press too hard on the cookie cutter.
The handles have also proved suitable for early childhood centres (kohanga reo), primary schools and even secondary schools, who have supported the kaupapa.
The colours are still based on important places from across Aotearoa, however the colours are more vivid, and the packaging is more eco-friendly.
Reddy says: "We've had lots of feedback about the unexpected excellent quality, which isn't normally associated with cookie cutters, and we've had orders placed from as far as England and Singapore.
"I feel the success of kuki reka kani has been due to some wonderfully generous members in our community; a unique, locally designed and quality made product; and the story that lay behind our 'why' – kaumātua inspired for a facility to serve both kaumātua of today and tomorrow."
The kaumatua innovations have been launched under its own brand name: Rauawaawa Enterprise for Kaumātua Aspirations. It enables kaumātua to be part of the effort to raise the remaining $4 million required to achieve a dementia and age-friendly facility, which will be safer and more user-friendly for our older persons community.
To order the cookie cutters online, click here.