Tori Barton (second from left) with rangatahi
Give someone a fish, feed them for a day. Give them a fishing rod, feed them for a lifetime.
That philosophy has underpinned a trial Creations in the kitchen cooking skills programme for rangatahi offered by the Te Wānanga o Aotearoa youth services team this year.
The one-day programme – offered four times in Waihi, Morrinsville and Hamilton – has seen five rangatahi (female and male) on each course.
The programme was developed by Hamilton-based Te Wānanga o Aotearoa facilitator Tori Barton (26) of Ngāti Maniapoto. She found many of the rangatahi she worked with had limited life skills – such as cooking using basic ingredients – with clients asking for food grants often ending up spending money on not so healthy options, such as biscuits or takeaways.
“I thought it would be good if I could teach them how to buy enough ingredients to make them good meals for a week rather than use the funds on crap,” says Tori, a social sciences graduate who studied Māori and Pacific development, and sociology.
“It’s about giving them the tools they need to look after themselves better from a kai perspective by cooking affordable, whanau friendly meals with what they have.”
For example, classes looked at such options as making slices, smoothies and bliss balls using Weet Bix and a variety of chicken dishes, like making a curry in a slow cooker.
“The feedback from rangatahi has been very positive – they’ve really appreciated the skills we’ve taught.”
The trial has been carried out with funding support from the Ministry of Social Development. Tori is hoping to secure funding for running more Creations in the kitchen classes next year.
“It’s definitely something we want to offer going forward for our youth services clients given how much practical help they get out of the classes.”