Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei – 2021 Awards finalist

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei

As kaitiaki in the most densely populated area of Aotearoa New Zealand, Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei has established a mara kai (food garden). Less than 5km from Auckland’s CBD, Pourewa is an iwi-led, organic mara kai alongside a native plant nursery and urban restoration project. Constructed in 2019, the design of the mara kai employs local tikanga and hua parakore (Māori system and framework). It is also a hub for learning and community engagement.

The mara kai is totally organic and uses composting and water retention and recycling systems, companion planting and waste-derived nutrient enrichment. The gardens provide employment and training for eight of the local whanau and there is space to tell the stories of ancestors through kōrero e tuku. Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei runs planting days, harvest days and workshops. This year it will develop a mara rongoa (wellness garden) and mara kaiwhatu (weavers’ garden). The objective of providing affordable wholesome food has been met with more than 3,000 kg of summer vegetables distributed to the whanau.