Northlanders step up to boost kai resilience across the region

Sept. 1, 2022, 4:02 p.m.

A diverse range of innovative projects enhancing community connections, employment, education, sustainability,

and economic development have again been supported through the Kai Ora Fund.

This year, a total of $140,902 has been disbursed to support 41 projects, with 22 in Far North, 4 in Kaipara and 13 in

Whangārei.

The Kai Ora Fund is a modest community grants process to support grassroots projects that address food security

and benefit the wider community. Set up in 2015, it has supported over 200 projects across Northland. Community

groups, whānau trusts, social enterprises, and small businesses have the opportunity each year to apply for up to

$5000 for projects that help strength kai networks.

“There is no better time than now to rally communities together to address kai needs. This year we saw the largest

increase of new projects across the region, signalling the interest from communities to invest their time, energy, and

resources into getting kai from the ground to the table,” said Whangārei District Council Community Development

Adviser Laura Welsby.

A range of community garden projects across Te Tai Tokerau received funding this year. One such project in

Whangārei, led by Forget Me Not, aims to develop a vegetable garden for their clients and wider community.

Another project in Whangārei, based at St Stephens Church, focuses on educating their community through

workshops which integrate Māori values of manaakitanga and kaitiaki. Their aim is to encourage local food security

and community connection through gardening, education, collaboration, and celebration.

In the Far North, Pateoro Marae are working on a project called Te Houkura. Te Houkura aims to establish marae-

based maara kai and rongoa to encourage self-sufficiency and share traditional knowledge around planting,

cultivation, harvesting and seed collection.

Successful applicants attend a Kai Ora workshop in Whangārei, Kaikohe or Kaitaia to allow the project teams to

collaborate and share expert advice and project knowledge for greater outcomes. Groups shared their vision for

their projects, considered key factors to boosting kai resilience, and looked at synergies between their projects.

The Kai Ora partnership comprises Mahitahi Hauora, Northland District Health Board, Te Puni Kōkiri, Far North

District Council, Whangārei District Council, Kaipara District Council, the Ministry of Social Development and Healthy

Families Far North, who have banded together as a unique way to achieve the fund’s vision – ‘He whenua taurikura,

he whānau houkura - Abundant whenua, prosperous whānau’. These partners, through their combined resources,

support communities to undertake their projects by offering capacity building workshops, networking opportunities

and general project support.

“We have a wide range of partners on board, each bringing their own unique lenses and expertise which groups can

access for diverse support,” said Mahitahi Hauora Whanau Engagement and Innovation Partner, Erana Peita.

The Kai Ora Fund is expected to reopen for applications later in the year for the 2023 funding round. Anyone

considering applying for the next round is encouraged to check in with the partners for collaboration opportunities

with existing projects and to strengthen their applications well in advance.

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