Blockhouse Bay has a new site in the growing network of Pātaka Kai (food storehouse or community pantry). The Open Street Pantry Movement is a resident-led, grassroots, crowd-sourced solution to immediate and local need, rescuing food and encouraging co-sharing between neighbours to strengthen communities. The motto is to “Take what you need and leave what you can.”
The new Pātaka Kai is sited at Chaucer School’s Falkirk Street entrance. The Chaucer School pantry has come about thanks to the strong advocacy of 2019 students and the project has been pushed forward this year by senior school leader Suraya Esau and current Year 5/6 students. It was recently opened by principal Michael Fletcher during the annual Cultural Day, so the students were dressed vibrantly in their traditional clothing. Dean Rose was a special guest, recognised for volunteering his building skills to the project. Wera Kaho represented Bunnings who had donated the materials.
Initially, it has been stocked with donations from the students. As time goes on it is hoped that there will be wider community participation, including donations from locals’ gardens and fruit trees.
The Cultural Day was organised with lots of input from the students. In the hall, tables were set up to represent the different nationalities and cultures at the school including Samoa, Afghanistan, Niue, Pakistan, China, Japan, SE Asia, NZ, Maori, Rarotonga, South Africa, Ethiopia, and Tonga. These were run by the students, dressed in traditional costume, who explained to other students the unique aspects of their culture and shared typical food dishes. Informal dance performances were also a highlight in the hall. On the fields outside traditional games were set up by the different groups. It was the second annual event and judged to be a huge success.
Special thanks to Student Teacher Rachel Ernst for inviting Beacon to be part of the opening. We wish her well finding a permanent teaching role as competition grows from ex-pat teachers returning home to NZ.
A Chaucer parent doing a henna design on Lakshana Senthuran as Divya Chhima looks on. Photo: Rachel Ernst