Kai connections brings people together1 min readReading Time: < 1 minute
The annual Neighbours Day has always been a highlight on the Oranga Community Centre calendar, delivering events and programmes to unite the community. Due to the current pandemic and restraints regarding health and safety and capacity limits, they decided to merge this year’s event in March with the World of Cultures celebration.
World of Cultures is an Auckland Council Festival, celebrating the diverse and vibrant cultures that represent the melting pot of Tāmaki Makaurau. The two–week festival offered free activities online and in-person to explore everything that makes Auckland a fun place to live. It also coincided with Race Relations Day in March.
Kai Connections was the 2022 theme for Neighbours Day, so the Oranga Community Centre hosted a series of community lunches – with the main focus of connection through kai. Onehunga Community Programme coordinator, Nick Baldwin, was grateful for the opportunity to learn about other cultures through sharing meals and conversation.“Food always brings people together, and it has been incredible to see the joy people have taken out of the event, and their willingness to bring along their traditional recipes to share with the rest of the community,” he says.
Key community member, Charz Taimani, worked her magic in the kitchen – whipping up delicious dishes over six days, with each day celebrating a different culture. Attendees enjoyed meals which included island-style chop suey, Indian butter chicken and a traditional Māori boil up – some people also bringing along cultural dishes they prepared at home to share.
The Kai Connection would not have been possible without the support of Kāinga Ora, who have helped fund the initiative to engage the community of Oranga.