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Times are tough. Here in Ōtaki, there are plenty of whānau feeling the pinch of the cost-of-living crisis, rising rental costs and the excessive cost of groceries.

Our essential needs are defined as: air, food, drink, shelter, clothing, warmth, sleep and health.

I know that for some of us even meeting these basic needs can be tricky at times, but there are services that can be accessed right here in Ōtaki for those who might need a hand.

This month I’d like to take the opportunity to mention some of these local services. This is by no means a complete list of what is available, but can assist with many essential needs.

There are several organisations providing affordable fresh produce.

Crooked Vege’s ( Ōtaki Supported Agriculture (ŌSA) offers a weekly pay-what-you-can vege bag subscription. Look them up online to register.

Crooked Vege also supports Te Pātaka, which is an honesty co-op that offers affordable, fresh produce. You can pay via cash, or through the “MyHonestyBox” app.

Give a thought about swapping some of your own produce – for free – with the Kāpiti Crop Swap (search Facebook).

Or you can check out Maoriland’s Maara Kai offerings on their website. And of course, we have the Ōtaki Foodbank on Main Street.

Warm Up Ōtaki ( offers free or subsidised curtains, heat pumps and insulation to some households. Have a look at their website to see if you might be eligible.

The Ōtaki Citizens Advice Bureau offers a range of free services, including budgeting, Justice of the Peace, Age Concern clinic, legal advice, housing advice and more. Look them up online or drop into their premises at 65a Main Street next to the park on the west side of the Memorial Hall.

Te Puna Oranga o Ōtaki offers well-being and hauora support. They work with whānau of all ages and walks of life, who live between Te Horo Beach and South Manakau and can connect people with a range of wellness services.

If you are finding it tough, you don’t have to do it on your own. Please reach out to one of our many caring organisations right here in Ōtaki.



Simon is deputy chair of the Ōtaki Community Board





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Plenty of help organisations in times of need

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