Te Runanga o Ngāi Te Rangi distributes $10,000 of chicken in one day

Te Runanga o Ngāi Te Rangi is no stranger to helping its community and whānau in and around Tauranga.

Since last year's first level four lockdown for all New Zealand in March 2020, one of their many support initiatives has been the distribution of kai.

After Tauranga moved out of level 3 and into level 2 on September 23 the runanga decided to keep up food distribution as it had a range of different supplies available for its people. “These are going out to more than 300 kaumātua and households in and around Tauranga Moana,”  Te Runanga o Ngāi Te Rangi chief executive Paora Stanley said.

Ngāi Te Rangi has distributed over 340kg of chicken on Friday to 300 plus whānau. That is close to 1000 chickens and nearly $10,000.

Asked about the price of this initiative, Stanley said, “It has cost a lot of money to do this but what you do is you measure how you are helping your people, not how much it is impacting upon your pocket. Although the impact on the pocket is important, it has to be first and foremost, is it good for the people?”

Emily Ihaka who is in charge of the distributing team is adamant the reason they are doing this is to give the kai to their kaumātua because of accessibility issues. “It is not always easy for them to get to the supermarket and go through the hassles of one shopper per household,” Ihaka said.

Mikaere Sydney is one of Ngāi Te Rangi’s support crew and on his first run of the day was distributing over 150 chickens to Tauranga and Mount Maunganui central kaumātua and out to Tamapahore marae.

“The most important thing is keeping our elderly safe and their cupboards filled,” he said. “That is today's goal for us”.

His first drop-off was to Nanny Makuini Harawira who was ecstatic when he turned up with a box of chickens for her.

“It is awesome. I did not expect this that's all,” Harawira said.

From there Sydney made his way to Tamapahore marae where he gave 25 bags of chicken for marae secretary Donna Teiho to distribute among kaumātua and whānau in their papakainga.

“Some since this lockdown have found it hard to go back to work so having packages from Ngāi Te Rangi iwi come in for our kaumātua is an awesome thing for our whānau”, Teiho explained as she walked around the papakainga distributing the chicken.

On September 17, a truck driver contracted Covid. He had been in Tauranga on September 11 and visited two shops. This put Tauranga into a panic and many Māori communities were even more protective over their whānau safety especially kaumātua, Stanley said.

“There are going to be more scares and that is okay. What we don't do is get rattled by the scares. We stay focused on what we are supposed to be doing. We make sure we have got that type of equipment ready. In the event, if we have another scare, we can seamlessly move into it."

The food distribution around Tauranga will be completed in two weeks.