During the weeks of Alert Level 4 - and now 3 - restrictions in Tāmaki Makaurau, Police staff have been supporting iwi in delivering food parcels to vulnerable people.
Between 500 and 700 boxes a week are being delivered in the wider Auckland area to homes where people can’t get out, or are essential workers, or just need extra help after losing their jobs.
Senior Sergeant Gaylene Rice, District Maori Responsiveness Advisor from Counties Manukau, says her teams have been extremely busy.
“MPES and Counties Manukau South Community Team have supported local iwi since we went into lockdown Alert Level 4," she says.
"They have done an amazing job to provide kai and hygiene packs to our community each week and it has been an absolute privilege to work alongside everyone.”
It's healthy kai, delivered with aroha, says Rukumoana Schaafhausen, of Ngati Haua. "We are working with a whole lot of awesome and passionate people who apply their minds and roll up their sleeves to make beautiful things happen," she says.
“It’s what our tuupuna did - feed our people with healthy kai. It’s not a commercial model or a charity approach - more like a people-connecting model from farm to plate.
“We have been fortunate to have connected a group of people from all over the district who can get great food - healthy food without sugar or processing chemicals, food that tastes great and is an experience to share and it’s usually locally grown and sourced."
Together, she says, they have provided around 170,000 meals to whānau across Tāmaki Makaurau.
"Every one of these meals has a blue hand helping it into a home. I don’t think this could happen anywhere else in the world. It’s kai with aroha.”
Matekino Marshall, from Ngati Tamaoho, agrees. “Police staff have been very helpful, together with our people. We’ve been packaging food and helping deliver it to the vulnerable and remote communities, and we really appreciate this.”
Iwi Liaison Coordinator Sergeant Charlotte Martin thanked those involved. “E rere atu ana ngā rau o mihi ki te mana whenua, ki aku rangatira, kei aku totara haemata. Mō koutou i ū tonu ki te kaupapa, i manaaki mai i tō mātou whānau Pirihimana. I whakahaumarutia e mātou ngā kaimahi katoa, nā koutou. Nei rā a whakaiti e tuohu nei, tēnā koutou.
“I am thanking our mana whenua and my leaders, who remain steadfast to our course, who care for and look after us all within the Police family. Those of you all who are the shelter for us, I humbly thank you all.”