Koha Kai in NZ Maori Business of the Year 2018

May 21, 2018
1717 Views

Koha Kai has been named in yet another National Awards.
The NZ Maori Business Awards took place at Te Papa in Wellington at the end of April, and Koha Kai was named a finalist in two categories, including the NZ Maori Supreme Business of the Year, and the People and Capability Award,  for which they were named winners.  Janice Lee, Project Lead of Koha Kai was one of three finalists in the NZ Maori Business Woman of the Year.

Koha Kai is one of the initiatives supported by Te Putahitanga o te Waipounamu – the Whanau Ora Commissioning Agency, and they are pleased to support Koha Kai in the tremendous work they are doing in the Waihopai community.

Janice Lee said “It is a real honour to even be nominated for these awards, and we were delighted to sit among some tremendous Maori Business initiatives who are focused on truly making a difference in the NZ Business Community.”

“While I am tremendously grateful of the honour of being a finalist in these national awards – particularly as I am representing my Whanau and my Iwi, I am always aware that without the determination and commitment of the people within our network – none of this would be happening.  The real honour of these events sits with the team who work with me, and the wonderful Trainees and Community Volunteers who know the work they are doing in community truly has value.”, she said

Koha Kai has been working with people who have been marginalised and isolated in the community due to living with the challenges of disability.  They provide affordable, hearty and healthy meals for children in Primary Schools three days per week.  The Lunches in Schools programme provides meaningful vocational skills based learning for people in a way that will support them towards open employment.

Koha Kai has been a registered Charity since 2015.  Developing two vocational education streams for disabled people, a Maara Kai (edible gardens) Horticulture programme, and the Lunches in Schools Programme.  They have been the recipients of many awards over this time.

“I think people appreciate us having a new and innovative way of working in community.  We don’t do things for people – we work alongside people – encouraging them to have a sense of purpose in their own lives.  That’s our point of difference.”

Koha Kai have been named as the recipients of the 2018 Fight for Kidz, and expect to hear the outcome of that event in the next few days, but have been reassured that they would be able to secure the Food Truck they were hoping for. In 2017 Koha Kai received support for their operational costs with significant funding from Community Trust of Southland, and the development of the Teaching Kitchen at South City by ILT and ILT Foundation, and the Food Truck seemed a natural extension of this opportunity for building capacity within the team, and a way potentially to assist them towards long term sustainability through the development of their Social Enterprise Business Model.

“This will give us the opportunity to extend our services even further into the community, supporting grass roots sports events, community events, school fairs, and building our capacity in this very open exciting way.”

“We are Koha Kai, and our approach to what we do is very Kaupapa Maori.  We use the traditional methods of growing our Kai, and the food we cook is the same food I grew up with in the 1960’s.”

For more information about Koha Kai and the programmes they offer go to www.facebook.com/kohakai

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