Deputy Prime Minister Attends Launch
Te Kai Mākona, The Salvation Army’s new food security framework, was launched externally on Wednesday 26 July, at Cuba Street Salvation Army. Deputy Prime Minister, the Honourable Carmel Sepuloni, was in attendance, along with many other local partners including representatives from Kore Hiakai Zero Hunger Collective, Aotearoa Food Rescue Alliance, Common Unity, Eat New Zealand, Kaibosh, City Mission, Countdown, Ministry for Social Development as well as various frontline Salvation Army Community Ministries staff and national leaders.
The early evening event began with kai as quests gathered. Following a formal welcome which included karakia and waiata, Salvation Army Chief Secretary Colonel Gerry Walker introduced Hon Carmel Sepuloni who thanked The Salvation Army for its ongoing commitment to addressing food security in Aotearoa and affirmed the importance of working in partnership with others.
‘Whilst we are here to launch The Salvation Army’s new food security response, and I love the name Te Kai Mākona, I know that we are also all here tonight because we are committed to addressing the underlying causes of food insecurity by building resilience, sovereignty, capacity and capability,’ she said. ‘To achieve this though, it is important that we continue to work in partnership with the wider sector and that includes government, food rescue organisations, foodbanks, community organisations and iwi. Through this vital co-ordination which I know we can do and has been done, particularly throughout the pandemic, we can strengthen food security at a local level through initiatives that engage and support individuals and communities to grow, cook and share and access affordable kai.’
Gerry explained the data motivating The Salvation Army’s food security work. ‘We are living in a time of great need right now. We’ve been looking at our data and over the last six months we have provided 45 thousand food parcels, which is an increase of 51% on the same time last year. We’ve supported 75,000 people, including 8000 new clients which is an increase of 28% on the same period last year.’
A video had been prepared especially for the event introducing Te Kai Mākona and showcasing the framework’s implementation around the motu. This was followed by an overview of the new approach given by Territorial Community Ministries Director Jono Bell and Captain Hana Seddon (Rotorua Corps). Hana outlined the origins of the name Te Kai Mākona, gifted to Community Ministries by Māori Ministries.
‘Names are important, and we had a conversation about the hope and the dream for food security in Aotearoa. We reflected on a piece of Scripture that is important to us in The Salvation Army,’ she explained. ‘There’s this little picnic that is going on, and Jesus does this miracle. Have you ever had this happen financially or in any other way when you’ve needed a miracle? Jesus takes a few loaves and a few fish and does something amazing—and thousands are fed. And some days we really need that. In that story the word “mākona” is used. When the picnic was over, everyone was fully satisfied. Hence the name Te Kai Mākona which means to be fully satisfied.’
The evening concluded with a panel discussion of experts moderated by Paul Barber of The Salvation Army’s Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit. The unit works to eliminate poverty in Aotearoa through advocacy for social change at a national level. The panel was made up of four local experts, Lani Rotzler-Purewa (Common Unity Lower Hutt), Angela Clifford (CEO Eat New Zealand), Tric Malcolm (Pou Arahi Kore Hiakai Zero Hunger Collective) and Iain Lees-Galloway (Aotearoa Food Rescue Alliance).