Wardens spread safety net in Katikati

Katikati Maori Wardens Susan Tukaki, Shaan Kingi, Charlotte Huiarangi. Photo Supplied.

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A Katikati volunteer group has been awarded $5000 as well as a grant to continue their work of helping people in need.

The Katikati Maori Wardens Charitable Trust recently received $5000 from Western Bay of Plenty District Council’s Community Matching Fund and a grant from the Katikati Community Board.

The money will go towards areas such as, youth at risk, the vulnerable elderly, solo and teenage mums and families whose cupboards are bare.

The 31 wardens also provide shelter, refuge, food, laundry facilities and a warm embrace for everyone who reaches out.

Trust executive member Shaan Kingi says the Maori Wardens are seen as the `go-to people’ when help is needed.

“We offer a place where the young people can come and be safe. We help young people develop into confident adults who can integrate into the community. We offer support for our kuia and kaumatua – all vulnerable people in town who seek us out.’’

She says their day-to-day work is voluntary and several funders in the wider community contribute to their annual operating costs of approximately $34,000.

The success of the Katikati Maori Wardens has triggered discussions with iwi across the Tauranga Moana rohe (from Otamarakau to Waihi Beach) to establish similar Maori Warden groups to promote community care and safety.

Shaan is hoping to help other towns, such as Te Puke, establish Maori Wardens to build the community resilience and support network that Katikati is achieving.

He credits the good relationship with the three iwi in Katikati (Otawhiwhi, Te Rereatukahia and Ngati te Wai) and the council’s funding as being pivotal to the success of their work.

“Council has always seen the merit in backing this group. They do an enormous range of work and are seen as pivotal to the community frontline.”

Community Relationship Advisor Ben Wilson has worked with the wardens every step of the way and says they are a good example of community building.

The council’s support extends beyond funding-through Katch Katikati, the council helped them source funding, set up their community hub, and mentored the Trust with its planning and strategic direction.

 To date the following programmes have been run by the Katikati Maori Wardens:

  •   •  Youth at Risk programmes

  •   •  NCEA studies for Year 11 facilitated by external services and tutored by former Katikati College students

  •   •  Mini Mums: Teenage mums and solo mums are helped by the Super Grans who help the young mothers budget and gain life skills

  •   •  School Holiday Camps: White water rafting, horse riding, outdoor camps

  •   •  Kiwi Can Do: Introducing 17-year-olds upwards to trades to give them a pathway to employment

  •   •  Homeless: Help families get a roof over their heads

  •   •  Food deliveries: Weekly food care parcels to families and elderly in need, provided by the Good Neighbour Trust

  •   •  Civil Defence emergency assistance: Wardens helped out at Edgecumbe floods and Christchurch earthquakes

  •   •  Security work: Wardens provide safety and security assistance.

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