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The church hall and kitchen were humming with anticipation as over 60 people prepared for the second Children’s Day Cook-off. Modelled on TV’s MasterChef, the competition gave families the chance to cook off against each other, using healthy and affordable ingredients.
Prizes were awarded not only for the finished dishes but also for talents like teamwork. After a shared lunch, families took home a recipe book prepared for the day, along with a food parcel.
This is one of the many activities of the Taita Pomare Mission at St Matthews Anglican Church in Taita, Lower Hutt — work that is helped by The Tindall Foundation. We aim to improve the wellbeing and resilience of communities; this project, which we support through our Funding Manager, Anglican Care Network, does just that for people in Taita.
The work of Taita Pomare Mission Project is led by Rev. Charles (Huri Huri) Noanoa, and divides into two strands: prisoner re-integration, and social services for the poorest part of Wellington’s Hutt Valley. The work has a strong Māori focus.
In the first strand, Rev. Noanoa works at Rimutaka Prison preparing male prisoners for integration before release. Every three weeks a group of prisoners tends the grounds and vegetable gardens at St Matthews. After release, measures to ease the men back into society include assistance with housing, employment and faith support.
Men who engage intensively with the project have a 75% success rate. That is well above the national recidivism rate of 40% after six months, and a life-changer for men like Tonto Tuhoe, who summarised Taita Pomare’s work in a few words: “Charles has walked alongside me and supported me to regain my life.”
To build community capability, Taita Pomare organises youth justice work and community gardens. Volunteers help to coach and manage the Tumeke Taita Touch Rugby Team for local youth. Although many on the team had not played organised sport before, in the past two years five of them have become New Zealand Māori representatives.
Among the other activities are weekly ‘kai nights’ for families at St Matthews, bringing the community together while helping families who struggle to put food on the table. The 2012 Taita Christmas Dinner, organised with St Mary’s Anglican Church, Silverstream, drew 130 people to the Taita Community Hall.
Anne Hannah, Funding Manager for the Taita Pomare Mission Project, explained that the Mission’s work is entirely dependent on grants and donations. “The generous support of The Tindall Foundation has helped ensure the sustainability of the project,” she said. “Every day I feel privileged to be part of this journey.”
For more information contact:
Anne Hannah, Funding Manager
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