The front door's shut, but this marae's kitchen keeps on cooking

Auckland-based iwi Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei has had to close its marae during the COVID-19 lockdown but, their kitchen is working overtime providing meals for kaumātua.

The iwi initiative, called Kai On The Fly, is providing up to 200 hundred elders with prepared meals delivered to their door.

The marae's manager Wyllis Maihi says a group of 30 volunteers have organised themselves into a catering service to ensure their kaumātua don't go without.

"Every week there will be four different types of meals just to provide a bit of variety of kai, they're cooked prepared frozen, then we get a team that come in to pack those meals in the bags you can see behind us and they're delivered by another set of people."

From the marae kitchen in Ōrākei meals are delivered across the region as far away as Warkworth.

"It's awesome - it's almost like you're going through a pōwhiri process when you put down the koha and you get this karanga back to you, it brings you to tears almost because you can see the appreciation, but there's this non-contact that you have to go through, but then you stand there and accept it on behalf of all the people that have done the work," says Maihi.

"It's very humbling to be part of, but knowing that your kaumātua and kuia and vulnerable families are being looked after, it's quite reassuring."

Watch the full video for the full report from The Hui.