REKA, Rauawaawa Enterprise for Kaumātua Aspirations, is part of our social enterprise journey to help enable Kaumātua Aspirations with the first one being agreed by Rauawaaawa Kaumātua as creating a safer, warmer and better age friendly facility for the Kaumātua of today and tomorrow.
Keeping in mind the facility (Te Puna o Te Ora) was opened on the 23rd August, 1941, Rauawaawa needed a method to generate an income to help Kaumātua and to upgrade the 1941 facilities, so Kaumātua at Rauawaawa developed and inspired the Kuki Reka Kani as part of our social enterprise, REKA. The cutters and cookies made, packaged and sold locally, nationally and internationally provides a huge sense of success for Kaumātua belonging to the Rauawaawa community, and are often described as inspirational for what can be achieved by other Kaumātua roopu throughout Aotearoa. After the pandemic, the Kaumātua of Rauawaawa wanted to support the local community. All cutters and packaging for the cutters are therefore created and manufactured in the Waikato.
Kuki Reka Kani are 9 unique cookie cutters, developed and named by Kaumātua as part of our social enterprise called REKA – Rauawaawa Enterprise for Kaumatua Aspirations. The cutters were initiated from a desire to help Kaumātua with dementia, to engage in cooking therapy that promoted Te Ao Māori, cultural heritage and whakapapa in a way that lent itself to fun, intergenerational exchange, whanaungatanga often associated with kai and the sharing of mātauranga. Visit the Reka shop for more information and pictures of each of these cutters.
Cooking therapy stimulates smell, taste and touch senses in dementia patients which can bring back memories from decades ago. Several hui were held with groups of Kaumātua to help identify the most appropriate Māori designs for use in kai, thus resulting in the Koru, Pāua, Kete, Hei-Matau and Pikorua (both single and double twist), Pōhutukawa, Kowhai and Kawakawa. These Kuki Reka Kani have ventured into a space in Te Ao Māori that can be tricky to navigate (food and Māori design) but the inclusion of Kaumātua and their mātauranga, chefs and their technical expertise, stakeholders and funders has for the first time, created a more culturally inclusive cooking therapy environment for Kaumātua with dementia as well as for tamariki in early childhood centres, rangatahi in technology classes and whānau in their own home.
Hei Matau
The Hei Matau symbolises a strong connection to the ocean and also to Tangaroa, God of the sea. It is a taonga (cultural treasure) and represents not only the land but also fertility, prosperity, and safe travels over water.
Koru translates to “loop” or “coil” in Te Reo and is a spiral shape based on the new unfurling silver fern found and therefore symbolises new life, growth, and new beginnings.
The Pikorua, twist, represents the lives of two groups or cultures joining together as one. It is based on the arms of the pikopiko fern and is a powerful expression of loyalty, love, and friendship; staying strong for eternity, as there is no end point to the twist.
For more information about the designs, visit our shop.
The cutters are designed to cut through the dough and leave a pattern imprinted on the dough in one easy push. This makes them gentle on both elderly, arthritic hands as well as providing a large grip for children’s hands to hold when using in the kitchen. The angled patterns also help to release the dough from the cutter. The patterned designs are drafted to reflect the look of the chiselled traditional whakairo rākau (wood carving) which is an important and respected role in Māori culture.
The colours of each design, reflects some of the many sacred places to Māori across Aotearoa ie. Hakarimata Scenic Reserve, Te Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington Harbour), Tongariro, Mount Taranaki, Lake Taupō, Kapowairua (Spirits Bay.) etc. This is to acknowledge that the Kaumātua here at Rauawaawa come from many places across Aotearoa and provides one means of including that in our Kuki Reka Kani Kaupapa.