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Waitara kaumātua keep the NPDC community benefits flowing

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Waitara kaumātua keep the NPDC community benefits flowing

Elsie Kearns retired at the age of 70 from a career in teaching 16 years ago and now she’s working on her first art show, thanks to a bit of help from NPDC’s community fund.

Elsie is one of about a dozen kaumātua who gather twice a week at Waitara’s Mahia Mai A Whai Tara Trust to exercise, practise traditional crafts and help their community.

As well as learning how to grow their own vegies, they also help those in need by sewing sheets and blankets for kids and soon they’ll be running up curtains to keep local homes warm.

The group have also been learning traditional weaving so Elsie’s made play mats for her grandkids and now the group are working on tukutuku panels to show in next year’s Puanga exhibition by the Waitara Artists Cooperative.

“When you live on your own, it’s good to get out.  With Covid going around I could build a shell around myself and never go out, but I really look forward to coming here every Tuesday and Thursday,” said Elsie (Te Atiawa).

Mana Hodgetts (Ngāti Mutunga) says the collective experience of the group keeps them engaged and opens up new opportunities.

“We’re planning something all the time; we discuss things and sometimes we go for a trip somewhere.  It’s amazing how many activities the kaumātua are engaged in and they come here and share their experiences,” said Mana.

Trust Coordinator Che Tamati said the $8,000 grant from NPDC’s Community Programme and Services Fund earlier this year keeps kaumātua active and the benefits flow through to the whole community.

“We do keep busy in the community and we’re a destination where kaumātua and the elderly can exercise their individuality, self-reliance, and tino rangatiratanga or self-determination, and the NPDC grant helps keep the doors open and the lights on,” said Che.

Applications are now open for NPDC’s Community Programmes and Services Fund, which supports projects and programmes that benefit the community.

Apply the council’s website here by 24 August or call us 06 759 6060 to find out more.

Caption: Mana Hodgetts, left, and Elsie Kearns practise their tukutuku weaving.