Maara Kai – Community Gardening Project

Kia tika te mārama me hakatō e ngā māra (when the moon is right then plant the crops),

Q.        What does Māra Kai mean?

A.         Māra literally means below the ground so kai from below the ground.  Therefore the thrust of this programme is to encourage Māori to develop gardens to cultivate and harvest food crops.

Q.        Why is the Government investing in Māra Kai?

A.         Māra Kai can be:

  • a way to develop skills that could lead to employment;
  • a healthy, educational, cultural activity for Māori;
  • a useful Māori led community wide activity;
  • a process that enables the transmission of traditional knowledge; and practice from the experienced to the inexperienced.

Q.        Can Māra Kai offer any special benefits for Māori?

A.         Māra Kai can be:

  • a food source for your whānau, marae, or hapū;
  • a useful way to develop your land;
  • a useful way to preserve and protect Māori kai;
  • an opportunity to grow kai the Māori way and know how to do that; and
  • an opportunity to gain horticultural skills.

Q.        Can I get help from the Māra Kai programme to grow kai at home?

A.         The Māra Kai programme aims to build community networks and resilience. You might be able to gain assistance if your garden is one of a number of gardens within a wider Māori community project.

Q.        How will the Māra Kai programme help me?

A.         You can get:

  • up to $2000 to contribute to the set-up costs of small Māra Kai projects on marae, and there places which are part of a Māori community project; and
  • any additional funding for set-up costs for larger Māra Kai projects will be considered case by case.

Q.        What can I spend the funding on?

A.         Funding can be used for:

  • provision of services to enable the establishment of a garden;
  • facilities and structures for a garden, including construction of garden beds and implement
  • sheds;
  • purchase of garden tools, composting equipment and seeds; and
  • education on gardening practices for group members.

Q.        Who do I talk to about this programme?

A.         The Regional Director at your Te Puni Kokiri local office.

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