Ngai Tahu Tourism’s generosity and leadership has been demonstrated by their invitation to the Rotorua community to harvest free feijoas from the iwi’s Agrodome orchards. For the third year running they are showing how one industry can contribute to the community and create sustainable systems change.
Through the collaborative effort of Community Fruit Harvesting Rotorua, Healthy Families Rotorua, and Ngai Tahu Tourism, local groups and organisations were able to gather and distribute the fruit during May and early June.
Healthy Families Rotorua connected local community leaders with Community Fruit Harvesting, which has resulted in a wide reach across organisations that would not normally work together or share ideas.
Ngati Tahu Tourism Groups and Events Manager Diane Curtis says the community picked up 740kg of feijoas last year.
“We actually grow the fruit for our tourists to see, but it’s such a waste not to pick it up and share it with our own community who need it, or can enjoy it. It’s also lovely to see children out here learning about picking fruit, as not everyone has fruit trees at home,” she says.
Healthy Families Rotorua Manager Mapihi Raharuhi says volunteers have distributed feijoas to groups such as Trinity Community Centre, Love Soup, Community Kai and Rotorua Intermediate.
“Other community groups such as the Ohinemutu Women’s Health League and Te Maru o Ngāti Wahiao have also been harvesting for kaumatua and local families in need. Feijoas are a good source of fibre and vitamin c, so will keep people’s immune systems strong coming in to winter.”
Mapihi says organising groups to harvest and distribute the fruit is a huge job.
“Having Sue White from Community Fruit Harvesting to assist with organising things has been fantastic. It’s enabled us to distribute the fruit to the groups who need it most, and has streamlined the process,” she says.
“There is still lots of fruit to pick and once this orchard has been harvested, there is another, with a different variety of feijoa ready to be picked as well. We also have a kiwifruit orchard which will ripen in June and that will fit nicely into the end of the feijoa season. We want to be able to offer the kiwifruit to the community but we need it to be fine weather, as we can’t have people slipping down grassy slopes for health and safety reasons.”