Collaboration Targets Cost of Living

June 2, 2023
June 2, 2023

A collaboration between NorthTec | Te Pūkenga’s Student Voice team and the Primary industries pathway is bringing food to students amidst a cost-of-living crisis. Fresh produce and non-perishables will be supplied to pātaka across all NorthTec campuses this winter.

“After having a talk with NorthTec’s student representatives, it was made clear that the main concern for many of our ākonga right now is getting food on the table amidst the current cost of living crisis,” says Lisa Erceg, Student Voice Kaiawhina. “Instead of hosting our usual winter events, which some students find they can’t attend, we decided to prioritise student wellbeing and help our ākonga access food.”

Student Voice has teamed up with NorthTec’s primary industry pathway and specifically the Certificate in Horticulture (General) Level 3 course as part of this initiative. Fresh vegetables grown and harvested by the horticulture students are transported to the pātaka across the campuses, supplying students who need it.

“Our horticulture students learn every aspect of food production, from preparing and caring for the soil to cultivation, nursery production, planting, care, and harvesting,” say’s horticulture tutor Bruce Johnson. “So being able to collaborate with Student Voice and allowing students to see their produce then go on to feed fellow students is fantastic. They get to see the effect of their work and make a difference.”

The horticulture course is based at the Dyer Street campus in Whangārei where ākonga have access to a slice of land for them to cultivate and grow their plants. This week they have been harvesting a flourishing crop of Bok Choy, which is then delivered by Lisa to pātaka across the region.

However, it’s not only fresh produce that is made available for students. Simple non-perishable items like tea, coffee, canned food, and even packets of noodles have been added to the stocks, giving students the chance to have a hot drink and a snack both on and off campus.

“It’s our hope that everyone will join in,” Lisa explains. “If someone needs something now then they can take what’s available. If they have extra later, then they can place it in the pātaka for those that might be in need that week. If staff or students have a fruit tree at home that has excess fruit, they can bring some in.”

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