He aha te mea nui o te ao, he tāngata, he tāngata, he tāngata.
The Tamaiti Whangai team from Whitireia and WelTec teamed up with Te Rūnanganui o Te Āti Awa and Ngāti Toa Rangatira to deliver essential kai boxes to ākonga (students) and their whānau during the most recent lockdown. Twenty-five kai boxes were delivered on Friday 3 September to grateful ākonga and their whānau across the Lower Hutt and Porirua areas. Whitireia and WelTec staff also worked with iwi to deliver the boxes to members of the community in need that weren’t affiliated with the education provider.
Whitireia and WelTec has a long and honoured tradition in supporting ākonga Māori and their whānau and communities. Helping ākonga Māori achieve their academic and personal goals during their study is a key objective, and one of the ways this is achieved is by providing strong support systems both on and off campus.
“Whitireia and WelTec is proud to be fully integrated with local communities and to be a supporting presence for ākonga Māori,” says Hinemoa Priest, Kaiwhakahaere Māori, and Manager of the Tamaiti Whāngai team.
“It’s vitally important that we’re prepared to look after whānau Māori when these events occur. If we can help make sure ākonga Māori and their whānau are doing well at home then they will do well in their studies.”
Susan Luke of Tamaiti Whangai identified students in need and organised for them to receive the kai supplied by Te Rūnanganui o Te Āti Awa and Ngāti Toa Rangatira.
Susan delivered the kai supplied Te Rūnanganui o Te Āti Awa throughout the Wainuiomata, Petone and Lower Hutt area.
“I think it’s important to show some empathy in tough times like this,” says Susan.
“It’s easy to assume people are ok when they actually might not be. We want people to feel comfortable asking for help and to make sure we’re giving them support when they do.”
Sam Atoni delivered kai boxes in the Porirua area supplied by Ngāti Toa Rangatira, and found it to be an uplifting experience. “People were overwhelmed with the support, they were so appreciative and it felt great to help,” says Sam.
“Lockdowns can be a really tough time with work and income being limited and people are trying to support their whānau, I’m proud we can provide assistance like this to our communities to help them get through.”
Ko te mea nui ko te aroha.