FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Allandale School principal Drew Manning and Te Puna Taiao project founder Erin Green join students for the opening and blessing of the school’s pataka kai food basket. Photos Kathy Forsyth D8194-02/04

ALLANDALE School is giving back to the community again – this time with a food basket.

The school has set up a pataka kai food storehouse at its fence on Alexander Avenue, with the aim that people will be able put excess food in it that can be used by the school’s tamariki as well as people in the community.

School principal Drew Manning said the pataka kai was part of the school’s Te Puna Taiao oasis project, with the thought being “with my food basket and your food basket and we can feed the whole community”.

“That is the whole idea,” he said, “sharing our gifts with everyone, and the nice thing about this is it is not just for the needy and is not just for the school to be using. Anyone in our community can put food into it and anyone can take food out and the only thing we ask is that you do not take more than you need at that time because there will be more the next day.”

Matua Abraham Akuhata Rangi from Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi and carver Laurence Hohua were at the opening and blessing of the pataka kai food storehouse last week. Artist Danny McRoberts also helped carve the structure, which depicts the three gods, Haumia Tiketike, Ioio Whenua and Pu Te Whenua, who are the guardians of food and fertile land.

The Te Puna Taiao project is still under way at the school. It has involved a massive revamp of the outdoor area, which now has a sensory and community garden that includes a hangi pit bike park, and more which is accessible to the public.