The Happy Puku as a concept came about when Te Tuinga Trust realised that to be a self-sustaining not for profit organisation we needed to create a revenue stream to meet the needs of our ever growing client base.
As it stands Te Tuinga has 200 plus whanau (mums, dads and tamariki of all ages) in 30 separate properties across the motu, and have transitioned almost 200 families into long term accommodation since we began this ambitious project.
This is a big step up from the first ‘whare4whanau’ emergency home we started with the koha of a whare from the Tauranga Moana Community Centre two short years ago.
As Chief Imagination Officer with a decent sized puku and an even bigger appetite for positive change, it was left in my lap to create such a concept. The temptation was to open up a hokohoko (second hand) shop, but there are already 20 plus in the Tauranga Moana rohe – so we went for something.
Puku patch and passion
The Happy Puku is much more than good Kai a little different that we all had a passion for and that is kai.
Our goal was to teach our residents how to catch a kai, grow a kai and cook a kai and in between give them the tools and the confidence to gain employment in the hospitality-catering sector.
Thankfully it was the right move and now The Happy Puku has eight employees who are mums from our whare and our bookings are growing as healthy as The Puku Patch gardens we have planted out on whanau
Right now, we have started making our own chutneys from the Puku Patch produce we are growing and we intend to market this product locally, thus creating another start up revenue stream to tautoko our kaupapa. For many of our homeless and emergency housed whanau, kai was only found in a supermarket, and as for growing a kai or catching a kai and then cooking it, that was something many had never experienced.