Shannon Kai Hub celebrates one year of fostering community

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Shannon Kai Hub’s Sharon Williams speaks with Rev Jessica Falconer outside the hub’s new op shop location.

WARWICK SMITH/Stuff

Shannon Kai Hub’s Sharon Williams speaks with Rev Jessica Falconer outside the hub’s new op shop location.

Pa Wylie Te Peeti, left, receives a fresh hot sandwich prepared by Karina Manihera, at the Kai Hub open day. WARWICK SMITH/STUFF

A pātaka kai established to help a Horowhenua town during the Covid-19 pandemic is expecting its second year to be as busy as its first due to the rising cost of living.

But there are also big plans to further evolve a space which has quickly become a key part of the town.

People packed into the Shannon Kai Hub​ on Saturday to celebrate its first birthday.

The result of conversations between people who helped civil defence during the first coronavirus lockdown and Horowhenua District councillor Robert Ketu​, the hub is based around a community pantry.

READ MORE:
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* Initiative grows to help feed Te Aitarakihi community
* Shannon Kai Hub much more than a pātaka kai for town’s residents

Pa Wylie Te Peeti, left, receives a fresh hot sandwich prepared by Karina Manihera, at the Kai Hub open day.

WARWICK SMITH/Stuff

Pa Wylie Te Peeti, left, receives a fresh hot sandwich prepared by Karina Manihera, at the Kai Hub open day.

The hub gave out 22,100 kilograms of food in its first year, feeding 16,429 people.

It also distributed rapid-antigen tests, sanitary products and other items to people isolating or unable to access them.

Various donors had come on during the year, ranging from Shannon School and other Horowhenua pātaka kai (food storage) to the Sikh community and Just Zilch in Palmerston, as well as Muaūpoko Tribal Authority.

There is also an op shop where you can acquire a bag of clothes or shoes for the price of spare change, a space for people to chat over a cup of tea and a gallery of art created by locals.

Patricia Te Au​, 82, who lives in nearby Mangaore​ village, said she had been going to the hub since it opened.

Shannon Kai Hub volunteer Terangihae McLeod Te Peeti, 10, and her aunty Jenny Small study cloaks made by Christina Rahira Chase in the hub’s new gallery space Nga Toi Aroha.

WARWICK SMITH/Stuff

Shannon Kai Hub volunteer Terangihae McLeod Te Peeti, 10, and her aunty Jenny Small study cloaks made by Christina Rahira Chase in the hub’s new gallery space Nga Toi Aroha.

She primarily went for companionship and socialising, while the three grandchildren she cared for also loved going to the hub.

“A lot of the young ones come in.

“When they come in and help, they feel more of a part of the community.”

The gallery for local artists, Nga Toi Aroha​, was gifted its name by Pa Wylie Te Peeti​.

He said Shannon was fortunate to have a space such as the hub, where people could congregate and be looked after.

Teneia Haronga fits a fascinator on her daughter Manaia, 5, at the Shannon Kai Hub’s new art gallery Nga Toi Aroha.

WARWICK SMITH/Stuff

Teneia Haronga fits a fascinator on her daughter Manaia, 5, at the Shannon Kai Hub’s new art gallery Nga Toi Aroha.

Steering group member Sharon Williams​​ said the rising cost of living, especially the escalating price of petrol, gave credence to the hub’s place in the town.

“For a community like Shannon, you have to pretty much drive everywhere for any significant services.”

People who collected food from the hub could save money for travelling to those services, such as doctor’s appointments in Levin or journeys to Work and Income in Foxton, or for emergencies such as a broken water cylinder or burst car tyre.

While the hub already had many moving parts, work was under way for a community garden and laundromat.

Williams said the garden, earmarked for a patch of bare land next to the hub, would be built so children, people using wheelchairs and those unable to bend over due to mobility issues could all get stuck in.

“We want it to be accessible from the outset.”

People can learn more by visiting the Shannon Kai Hub at 36 Plimmer Terrace between 10am and 3pm, Tuesday to Saturday, or by visiting the hub’s Facebook page.

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