Kaumātua launch Māori-designed cookie cutters

Rauawaawa Kaumātua Charitable Trust (RKCT) is launching three Kuki Reka Kani (Māori-designed cookie cutters), lovingly named and inspired by its kaumātua, at its facility in Frankton, Hamilton.

The Rauawaawa Kaumātua Charitable Trust (RKCT), a research partner of Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities, has been investigating social enterprise initiatives that kaumātua and kuia in the village at Kirikiriroa (Hamilton) can launch to support not only their own ‘he kāinga pai rawa’ journeys and quality of life, but also strenthen their ties with the wider community and support the ongoing hauora and wellbeing of the village community.

At the end of November the Trust launched three Kuki Reka Kani (Māori-designed cookie cutters), lovingly named and inspired by its kaumātua, at its facility in Frankton, Hamilton.

RCKT chairperson, Owen Purcell says the enterprising kaumātua are extremely proud to celebrate a product they not only inspired but helped shape – in the form of pāua (abalone), pikorua (single twist), and kete (basket).

“I’m certain they’ll now want to do much more in the innovation area, and our job at Rauawaawa is to create an environment which supports them to do just that,” he says.

The kaumātua came up with the idea to use Māori designs in food products as part of a Whanāu Ora innovation project, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Local company, MWD Designs Ltd, created drawings for the kaumātua to give feedback on and they eventually settled on three designs, which were put to the test by Rauawaawa’s own chef. A few tweaks later, followed by the disruption of COVID-19, and a further trial of the prototypes by two extra cooks, the kaumātua are now excited to showcase their cookie cutters to the rest of the world.

RCKT CEO, Rangimahora Reddy, says the kaumātua have been waiting for the launch for a long time.

“It’s a day that shows innovation knows no age limit, and amazing opportunities occur when kaumātua are supported to innovate, showcase, and share their matauranga,” she says.

“We’re very blessed to have these cutters created and manufactured right here in the Waikato. Our kaumātua were determined that post COVID-19, we had to support our local community, even if it meant costs would be higher than sourcing them from offshore.

“Another request was there had to be rangatahi [young people] involved, and currently we have a team of 10 supporting social enterprise activities. This ensures that kaumātua of today and tomorrow are connected on an aspirational kaupapa. This is exciting for us, and I can only imagine what amazing things may be created when their remarkable minds work together,” says Rangimahora.

The Kuki Reka Kani (cookie cutters) can be ordered online from the Trust’s fundraising page on Chooice.

A further three designs will be released early in the New Year.

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Date posted: 1 December 2020