First social supermarket for Whakatāne

First social supermarket for Whakatāne

Waiariki Whanau Mentoring Trust and Foodstuffs North Island are proud to announce a groundbreaking partnership that will see the opening of Whakatāne’s first social supermarket on 9th July.

Whare Āio Social Supermarket is the result of a unique collaboration between Foodstuffs North Island, the 102-year-old New Zealand owned co-operative behind PAK’nSAVE, New World, Four Square and Gilmours stores across Te Ika-a-Māui, and Waiariki Whanau Mentoring Trust, a kaupapa Māori organisation that provides mentoring, brokering and advocacy services for people living on the edge of society across the Whakatāne region.

The new store, which is located at 220-224 The Strand, will provide food and grocery products at low or no cost, using a points system, all within a standard supermarket environment, making healthy and affordable food accessible to those in the community experiencing food insecurity.

“When Waiariki Whanau Mentoring Trust was created, our kaupapa was to meet the needs of our community,” says Waata Heathcote, Chief Executive of the Trust. “As we approach our sixth anniversary, the opening of Whare Āio is a huge milestone for us in our mission to make positive changes in the lives of whānau living on the fringe in our region.”  

The social supermarket will be run by a dedicated team of three from Waiariki Whanau Mentoring Trust, with practical support and guidance from Foodstuffs North Island’s Social Supermarket team. In addition, Whare Āio’s buddy store and neighbour, New World Whakatāne, along with its owner-operator Bruce Jenkins, will be helping to keep the shelves full and providing retail expertise.

Waata says they’re expecting to support around 50 families a week, and 13,000 people in its first year. “Our partnership with Foodstuffs North Island and Bruce’s team at New World Whakatāne has allowed us to accelerate our work in food support. Whare Āio will help bring food security to a part of the population that is often forgotten, the working poor. Those who can’t access support from the Ministry of Social Development or the government but who are doing it really tough.” 

Willa Hand, Head of Social Supermarkets for Foodstuffs North Island says: “Whare Āio will be our 12th social supermarket – each one is as unique as the local community it serves.  Our mission is to open social supermarkets right across the North Island, and we couldn’t do this without fantastic partners like Waiariki Whanau Mentoring Trust.”

“Social supermarkets form an important part of our co-ops commitment to be ‘Here for NZ’, helping ensure all New Zealanders have access to healthy, affordable food and supporting local communities to thrive. This is a great partnership and I’m excited to see first-hand the impact Whare Āio will make.”

In addition to food support, Waiariki Whanau Mentoring Trust also provides employment training, education, prison in-reach, reintegration, peer support, nursing, mental health, addiction, alcohol and drugs teams. It has 60 staff/kaimahi and over 200 volunteers.

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