Hutt at Heart
Wā Ora Montessori students mashing pumpkins for pumpkin soup

It Takes a Village to Make Pumpkin Soup

During the last week of June, Naenae celebrated Matariki with a variety of events such as movie screenings, Matariki markets, Kapa Haka performances, and more. Each event was both a celebration and a collaboration of different people and groups in the community.

On 28 June, Hutt City Council, Naenae Community Cinema, Naenae Residents’ Association and Team Naenae Trust ran an outdoor movie screening of Hunt for the Wilderpeople, with a heartfelt introduction by actor Julian Dennison, a proud Naenae local.

“Thank you for coming down tonight, I think this is a great way to build our community. I think this definitely isn’t the end of it and you can expect more, a lot more of this. It is such a cool idea to get together as a community and as a big wide family. Thank you for coming, enjoy the movie and God Bless,” said Julian.

Julian Dennison at Naenae event with Naenae locals Emily and Lillian.
Naenae local Julian Dennison at ‘Hunt for the Wilderpeople’ outdoor movie screening, with Emily and Lillian who helped organise the event.

To keep everyone warm, hot pumpkin soup was served; but, this was no ordinary soup. It was a soup of the community, by the community, and for the community.

Over 100kg of pumpkins were organically grown in Naenae by successful home gardener, Andy Mitchell, of Naenae Residents’ Association. He donated 35kg of these for the events pumpkin soup! From there, Lillian Pak, Chair of Team Naenae Trust, coordinated the making of the soup in the community.

The pumpkins were roasted and mashed by the enthusiastic Preschool Students at Wā Ora Montessori School who were very excited and proud about making soup for their community. Anna McLean, Deputy Principal, of the Preschool says “it was a great way for our tamariki to support the community. It aligns well with our school’s value of generosity of spirit.”

Dishes were washed by Eulie Norton, 8-year old Naenae resident and Wā Ora Primary School student. She thinks “it’s cool to do something for the community!”

The soup was made at Mouthtrap, a local Naenae business who supplies supermarkets nation-wide with delicious roti, noodles, and curries, with help from Chris, owner of Olympic Butchery, also a local Naenae business.

On the night, the soup was heated and served out of Naenae Cafe by Liz Pa’u, Founding Trustee of Team Naenae Trust and a current Trustee. She says, “it’s wonderful how the community came together to nourish the community through food and through fellowship at the movie.”

Lillian says, “a big thank you to everyone who contributed making the soup. It was an awesome project to coordinate and together we made about 40 litres of soup! How fantastic is that!”

Some people gave a koha for the soup although this was not asked for.  The funds raised are being donated to Pataka Aroha on Cambridge Terrace, along with the additional 60+kg of pumpkin that Andy grew.

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