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Food forges link between young and old

The steam is rising above the background of music and chatter as senior students prepare a feast for the residents of Swansea Village in Flaxmere.

On Wednesday [July 3] Year 11 to 13 Flaxmere College students were preparing a three-course meal for 100 people; the 70 senior housing residents, themselves and their hospitality teachers. They were in for a treat: Pumpkin soup and rewana bread followed by chicken, hot ham and vegetables, then apple crumble and whipped cream.

Twice a year the college runs ‘enrichment days’ over two days for senior students. They can choose from a number of activities to explore potential career pathways and to build on their strengths, interests and aspirations.

For this round they could select from: hospitality for the community, carving, fencing, driver licence training, sound and technology, digital technology, or art. The courses designed originated from student feedback on their preferences for learning.

The 25 who chose the hospitality for the community course were having fun in the kitchen and giving back to the community. It had arisen from an earlier initiative that had seen students deliver muffins to Age Concern Flaxmere members, said Flaxmere College administration executive Kathryn Simmons. “They were so excited at the reception they got; that the older community loved them and loved their muffins.”

A similar initiative was held in the term two holidays where hospitality students prepared and served kai to over 300 guests including the Italian ambassador at Kohupatiki Marae in commemoration of the 28 Māori Battalion on Anzac Day.

One of those cooking on Wednesday was, year 13 student Shakera Patuwai (17). She said the cooking team was proud to be “giving back to our community – our kaumatua. We’re sharing our love and our food, and learning skills as well.”

Those skills included time management, portion sizing, and catering for such a large number. The meals were delivered by the students to Swansea Village at 1pm.

Resident Mark Irwin said the initiative was “fabulous”.

“It’s not just about the lunch, which is wonderful, but this has got us all out of our homes, gathering around chatting. It’s also bringing the young people in touch with our old people; bringing the community closer together.”

Principal Louise Anaru described the hospitality programme as highly innovative. “We benefit from business and community partnerships to provide contextualised learning so students can have real life experiences within the industry. Service projects such as this provide meaningful and relevant learning for our students and foster a sense of pride from giving service to others. We value our local community and it is such a honour and a privilege to be of service.”

Released on behalf of the Flaxmere Planning Committee by Joyce Communications

For more information contact Diane Joyce: 021 612270


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