On Sunday 14th August members of the Aro Valley Community came together to share a Community Hāngi and performances by local school children and other groups. This event was an Aro Valley Community Council Initiative.
When I went to Aro Hall on Friday to find out a little about the forthcoming event, I was met by boxes, bags and cartons of a wide variety of vegetables donated by locals. Such a constant stream of people, were still delivering their produce, that I was quite taken aback.
Lexi Taylor, the event’s facilitator, told me that a series of community meals have been partially funded by Compass Health as a way of bringing community members together. Food, having that power to draw people in, in an act of sharing, is seen as a focus for this innovative opportunity. Volunteers from different ethnicities and cultures are involved in hosting the meals, the first had been an ‘Indian Pot Luck,’ which ensures that each event is correctly anchored in its culture.
Timebanker Angela Foster and her daughter Charlotte, amongst many others, were involved in behind-the-scenes preparation to provide 200 meals for the occasion; peeling a mountain of different vegetables and setting up the meal-packs to go into the kai cookers. Also on hand to serve the meals and tidy up afterwards, this stalwart effort has been essential to the success of the event.
During Sunday evening excellent musical performances, including song, dance and piano were delivered by members of Te Aro School, Aro Valley Pre-School and local artists.
Lexi commended the amazing contributions of Daniel Brown and Andrew Dalziel, from the Maori community, who had organised much of the event and the cooking feat! They had ensured that there was provision of Vegetarian, Halal Option and Combination Meat meals for all those attending. Daniel and Andrew were guarding the huge kai cookers all afternoon. Andrew said the event was important to him because, ‘it was bringing the people of the community together.’ He also hoped that all of the people who had given their time in the preparation on Saturday, would return later on in the evening to share in the meal.
Serving food to Maria Paiva, are Angela Foster and fellow Timebanker Mark Bayly.
As the darkness gathered outside and the chilly wind cooled the air it was certainly time for the serving of steaming-hot food! And in a quiet moment there was certainly a sense of gratitude and a coming together, that all could be proud of and everybody could share.
Story by Sue Jenkins