Re-designing the culture around kai

'Now the whanau are getting back on the waka'

'Now the whanau are getting back on the waka'

SUMMER HARVEST: Christine Thomas (left) and April Tololi get stuck into the harvest at Nga Mara Hapori a Rongo Matane community garden in Kaiti. Among the spoils were multitudes of capsicums, tomatoes, zucchinis, chillies, lettuces — the list goes on. Picture by Liam Clayton
ON THE WAKA: Kaiti community health and fitness group Huringa Pai has been running a lifestyle course teaching participants about growing their own kai and creating healthy meals from it. During harvest day on Friday at Nga Mara Hapori a Rongo Matane community garden in Kaiti are participant Thomas Tololi, organiser Dr Willem Jordaan, participant Maaka Rewiri (sitting), participant Reuben Houia, Dr Lance O'Sullivan visiting from Northland and participant Luana Waru. Picture by Liam Clayton

A GROUP of Kaiti residents have been getting their hands dirty, harvesting their own food and preparing delicious — and healthy — meals from it.

“Re-designing the culture around kai,” Dr Lance O’Sullivan said, a Northland doctor named New Zealander of the Year in 2014 for bringing health programmes to disadvantaged in rural areas.

Dr O’Sullivan was in Gisborne on Friday and he visited the group at Nga Mara Hapori a Rongo Matane community garden harvesting vegetables, replanting and looking after the garden. They were taking part in a lifestyle course run through Kaiti-based community health and fitness group Huringa Pai.

The participants harvested fresh vegetables then learned how to prepare and cook healthy meals with Eastern Institute of Technology tutors.

On Sunday they went to Morere Scenic Reserve for a walk, hot pools and picnic with the prepared meals.

“There are three key things to health — being smokefree, exercise and eating healthy kai,” Dr O’Sullivan said.

“I want to congratulate you guys out here in the community doing that. It breaks my heart to hear whanau having heart attacks at young ages and dying. As a doctor when people come in sick, I cannot help having to give out medication. But healthy kai is a better medication.”

Huringa Pai organiser Dr Willem Jordaan said part of the aim was to get people involved in the garden and re-connect with growing their own food.

“Of the group a few have had strokes, a few have had heart attacks, a few have had diabetes. Now the whanau are getting back on the waka.”

Participant Christine Thomas said being part of Huringa Pai had changed what she was eating.

“It is fun. Being in the group has totally changed my eating. Now I am into things like salads.”

Thomas Tololi was on the cusp of getting diabetes before joining the group. Now that has turned around.

“Stuff like this, having healthy food and the group support around really helps,” he said.

EIT adult community education co-ordinator Sue Matthews said they were keen to support community initiatives like this.

“We are keen to support people growing their own vegetables but who might not know what to do with them. We show people simple ways to use vegetables they can grow at home, and use things like herbs to create delicious meals.”

On Saturday the group prepared a range of salads, fruit smoothies and seed crackers.

Ka Pai Kaiti chair Mel Tahata said such community projects were what the garden was designed for.

“There used to be lots of community gardens in the area. We do not want this to be a ‘used to be’. We want it to continue to be used as a garden for future generations.”

A GROUP of Kaiti residents have been getting their hands dirty, harvesting their own food and preparing delicious — and healthy — meals from it.

“Re-designing the culture around kai,” Dr Lance O’Sullivan said, a Northland doctor named New Zealander of the Year in 2014 for bringing health programmes to disadvantaged in rural areas.

Dr O’Sullivan was in Gisborne on Friday and he visited the group at Nga Mara Hapori a Rongo Matane community garden harvesting vegetables, replanting and looking after the garden. They were taking part in a lifestyle course run through Kaiti-based community health and fitness group Huringa Pai.

The participants harvested fresh vegetables then learned how to prepare and cook healthy meals with Eastern Institute of Technology tutors.

On Sunday they went to Morere Scenic Reserve for a walk, hot pools and picnic with the prepared meals.

“There are three key things to health — being smokefree, exercise and eating healthy kai,” Dr O’Sullivan said.

“I want to congratulate you guys out here in the community doing that. It breaks my heart to hear whanau having heart attacks at young ages and dying. As a doctor when people come in sick, I cannot help having to give out medication. But healthy kai is a better medication.”

Huringa Pai organiser Dr Willem Jordaan said part of the aim was to get people involved in the garden and re-connect with growing their own food.

“Of the group a few have had strokes, a few have had heart attacks, a few have had diabetes. Now the whanau are getting back on the waka.”

Participant Christine Thomas said being part of Huringa Pai had changed what she was eating.

“It is fun. Being in the group has totally changed my eating. Now I am into things like salads.”

Thomas Tololi was on the cusp of getting diabetes before joining the group. Now that has turned around.

“Stuff like this, having healthy food and the group support around really helps,” he said.

EIT adult community education co-ordinator Sue Matthews said they were keen to support community initiatives like this.

“We are keen to support people growing their own vegetables but who might not know what to do with them. We show people simple ways to use vegetables they can grow at home, and use things like herbs to create delicious meals.”

On Saturday the group prepared a range of salads, fruit smoothies and seed crackers.

Ka Pai Kaiti chair Mel Tahata said such community projects were what the garden was designed for.

“There used to be lots of community gardens in the area. We do not want this to be a ‘used to be’. We want it to continue to be used as a garden for future generations.”

Your email address will not be published. Comments will display after being approved by a staff member. Comments may be edited for clarity.