The Taita Pomare Project
Tucked away in Taita, Lower Hutt, is St Matthews, a small suburban Anglican church which is home to an innovative community project.
Led by the Rev Charles (Huri Huri) Noanoa this multi stranded project includes the provision of a Food Co-operative; Youth Justice work; the re-integration of prisoners into the community from the Rimutaka Prison Faith Based Unit (FBU); work with Disabled Services; as well as overseeing the talented Tumeke Taita Touch Team.
On Wednesday morning, a busy Food Bank operates out of the Taita Community Hall. A hot breakfast is also offered providing a time for fellowship over kai at Saint Matthews Anglican church Reynolds St/Taine St, Taita.
Team work is important when you have over 145 people using the vegetables and fruit supplied by Hutt Valley ‘Pak n Sav’. St Vincent de Paul helps with delivering the food, and Saint Matthews does the distribution.
Once a month, on Tuesday, a Food Co-op for Taita residents accessing the Food Bank operates out of the Church Hall. Phone 577 2744 for details
Because building sustainability and community capability are a key part of the project most food co-op users will have a veggie garden planted on their property by a team from Saint Matthews. The vegetables help supplement grocery items from the Food Co-op.
Working with men in the FBU of Rimutaka Prison, Charles also works with the Probation Services, Prison Fellowship NZ, Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Avalon and some local churches to prepare the men for full immersion back into society, and a life serving Christ in the Taita Pomare community. Now entering its third year, this re-integration work takes a holistic approach. To date, none of the men who Charles and the Taita/Pomare/Avalon communities are working with, have returned to prison.
A harakeke workshop (flax weaving) is run by Ruve Te Hira. Ruve works with disabled people in the Church hall on Wednesday between 10:45am to 2:00pm. Every second week, Charles teaches three people basic cooking/baking. This is shared over lunch with others. It is hoped that music will soon be a component to this program.
The ‘face of the future’ is the Tumeke Taita Touch Team. This team comprising mainly Taita College boys, along with players from; Naenae, Hutt Valley High, and Hutt International Boys schools, has played together for two seasons. Decked in vivid blue Diocesan- sponsored uniforms the boys have won the local Open Men’s grade and will represent the Hutt Valley in the College Nationals in Hamilton and are busy fundraising to get to the NZ Touch Nationals in December. Charles oversees the team which is coached and managed by two young men from the Taita community.
Charles’s work is supported by the neighbouring parishes of Avalon, Stokes Valley and Naenae who form a management team coordinated by Avalon Vicar Derek Keatley. The team provides supervision and governance to the project. Tom Brown, Bishop of Wellington is its patron.
The Taita Pomare Project is dependent on grants and donations. It receives no government funding. If you’re wanting to donate to this innovative and worthwhile project please send a cheque to the: Anglican Diocese of Wellington, PO Box 12 046, Wellington 6144. Please mark the back of your cheque Taita-Pomare Project.
For more information please email