Unison has funded construction and running costs for a custom-built mobile barbecue, which will tour Flaxmere and the Hastings District to spread the anti-violence message. The unit is called Tunutunu, Maori for “grilling.” The project is one result of the “Enough Is Enough” Hikoi led by Councillor Henare O’Keefe last year to protest community violence in the Hastings district.

Cr O’Keefe intends to use Tunutunu (or “TT”) on selected weekends to reach families who faced violence issues, and youth out on the streets in the early hours.

“We will park it up in a street or someone’s back yard light up the barbeque and get out the guitars to create a non-threatening environment where families and young people can hear the anti-violence message,” Cr O’Keefe said when TT was unveiled.

But success brings new needs. Here’s what Henare recently reported to BayBuzz:

“TT recently made her debut at the Skate Bowl in Flaxmere, 50 youth turned up on the Friday aged from 12 thru to 17, and 30 on the Saturday. As the dialogue began to unfold it was plainly obvious that many of these young people have a host of issues. It was sad to note that some of them have an intimate relationship with “Jack Daniels” and god knows what else. Also sad to note the young girls no older than 14 & 15 out on the street looking for comfort and solace in all the wrong places. I have a couple of people looking at possibilities re storage as well as further and ongoing sponsorship for sausages, meat patties, sauce, margarine and bread etc. We went through close on 200 sausages & 8 packets of sliced bread on debut, so we’re certainly going to need support here as well …

Now that we have generated some trust and familiarity with these kids I want to keep it going and take the relationship further, in the hope that we can and will make a difference. Besides, I promised them I’d be back, not thinking that I’ll be needing more supplies.”

So, if you’re in a position to help Henare and the Tunutunu outreach with donated food supplies (or a contribution toward the supplies), or if you can provide a secure storage space for the unit, email Henare at or phone him at 0274-321-890.

Many thanks,

Tom Belford

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4 Comments

  1. I have seen many of these young people when on Community Patrol at night. Sadly, when they are encountered late at night, they are pretty much controlled by Jack Daniels and company. They range from as young as 8 – 10 years old and a significant proportion are girls. What Henare is doing shows what can be done by people in the community to get alongside these confused, frustrated and often angry young people. All too often people with "solutions" to problems in placs like Flaxmere come from outside the area, invariably wanting involvement by government and councils, spending more money, employing more staff, etc. Here is an opportunity for individuals to give suppor themselves to one who is part of the community here. I'm far more confident supporting someone like Henare than politicians and bureaucrats'schemes.

  2. Thank God for people like Henare! Could we suggest that

    he seeks ongoing sponsorship from the likes of Supermarkets or Mad Butcher (if he hasn't already done so). It would be good if more BBQ's could be purchased and stationed in the 'at risk' areas on Fri or/and Sat. nights. Volunteers in those areas would probably be only too happy to support this wonderful initiative.

    We will be happy to support this venture both financially and personally.

  3. An excellent start Henare. However, instead of just giving these kids a free feed for a day how about giving them the means to create kai for their future as well. For example, now don't go bananas, but how about charging them say a dollar, or less, with all proceeds going into a Flaxmere/Hastings co-operative fund to continue what will be their own good work? Obviously, ongoing support and sponsorship will also be necessary along with a helping hand from the kids themselves. Can you imagine these kids having a sense of ownership, pride and responsibility. I can. If we don't point them in the right direction who will?

  4. I was dismayed that Flaxmere is being used as a dumping ground again.

    I have lived here for 3 years and love it but am so dismayed to read that the corrections department is putting in a correction facility.

    When we built our home here we were told that Flaxmere is going to go ahead but this is making Flaxmere go backwards.I support Henare 100% I will also be lying down in front of the bulldozers !!!!!!

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