Pantry of aroha opened in Muriwai

Pantry of aroha opened in Muriwai

Take what you need and leave what you can is the ethos of a new pātaka kai that has been stocked and formally opened in Muriwai.

Situated on Motutara Rd outside Muriwai Lodge, the open pantry is full of herbs, produce, seeds and flowers from local gardens, as well as non-perishable essentials provided by South Kaipara Good Food.

At the formal launch, local resident Emma Farry explained it’s one of more than 200 around the country. She said the grassroots, community-led pātaka kai movement is all about give and take.

“It’s like a circle. It’s not a thing for the needy, because we’re all needy. It’s for all of us – taking what we need and giving what we can.”

The pātaka kai was designed and built by Emma’s husband Mark Grocott and has been a labour of love, drawing on his learnings from a whakairo course he has been taking.

“It has been fun being part of a public art project, it has been a labour of love. Much aroha has gone into it from Emma and led by all the love and creativity and hard work this community has shown in the past year, what we’ve been through.”

The pantry was supposed to be put in place just over a year ago, but if it had it would have been destroyed by the vast slip that slammed down the neighbouring hillside during Cyclone Gabrielle.

“There was some kind of divine grace involved that we actually had it at our house,” Farry explained. “It’s been a whole year to get it back to here, which is perfect really because we have all been through a lot in this year. I want to acknowledge that. We have all learned that we need each other. All of us as a community, to keep ourselves safe. To keep ourselves fed and nourished.”

Attendees at the launch were invited to take something from the pātaka kai. It will be kept stocked up with locals urged to contribute any extra they harvest from their gardens, or have in their pantry, to go alongside South Kaipara Good Food donations.

South Kaipara Good Food CE Gemma Donaldson says the charity is glad to be able to help keep the pantry stocked and continue its support for the Muriwai community.

“The care, connectedness and strength this community has shown has been incredible. It hit home standing at the pātaka kai, so close to the ravages of the cyclone, what locals have faced, and how much aroha and community spirit it has come through it with.”  

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