on Nov 15, 19

Nourishing children and communities from the inside out

By Janisha Nathu

Children going to school without having had breakfast or bringing lunch is a true problem facing communities in our country. The Common Unity Project Aotearoa (CUPA) was created to address this issue in the Lower Hutt region. Starting from a soccer field-turned-garden at Epuni School in 2012, it has now expanded to involve more good people giving their time and energy to help build the community from the inside out.

CUPA creates a wide variety of community-led projects that empower local families, schools, and organisations to be sustainable solution makers. Each of these projects allow for people to share knowledge and enrich themselves with new-found skills in a vibrant and lively community space.

Tania Austin, Funding and Friend-raising Manager from CUPA, often takes her kids along with her to the CUPA base, where they help out, learn new skills, or just potter around while she does work.

She says: “Everyone has a skill, even if they may not realise it, but everybody can contribute.”

One of the main CUPA projects is the Unity Kitchen — a commercial kitchen situated onsite in a refurbished solar panelled shipping container. Ingredients are collected from 14 urban farms around the Hutt Valley region and are then made into healthy, wholesome and homegrown meals available for sale. The best part is that each meal is priced at only $6.50 and for each one sold; one is gifted to a child from one of five local partner schools. This equates to around 200 meals being gifted to a child each day!

Other programmes include the Beeple Honey Collective, Urban Kai Farms, Project Sunshine Aotearoa, ReCycled Rides, Sew Good Cooperative, and many more. Each project centres around CUPA’s vision of every child having a village, therefore teaching children valuable skills not only broadens their knowledge, but also their understanding of creative solution-making.

Donations made through The Good Registry are making a meaningful difference in the operation of CUPA, allowing for it to keep innovating and creating an authentic change where it is most needed — within and alongside the community. One $10 gift through The Good Registry could provide three meals to children at a local school!

CUPA works on the basis of “giving with one hand and receiving with the other.” So, if you would like to find out how you can invest your time or purchase unique gifts made from repurposed materials have a look at the Common Unity Project Aotearoa website. Also you can contact [email protected] to keep in the loop for a soon-to-launched membership campaign and be a part of a movement to nourish our children and community. Together, We Grow.

Or if you’d like a simple way to support their work — and help children, their families and communities to thrive — you can do that at The Good Registry by pledging your birthday or other event, or purchasing a Good Gift Card.


We have created two simple ways to give and receive the gift of giving through our website:

  • Create your own Good Registry for a special event (e.g. a wedding or a birthday) and ask friends to donate to a charity you choose (like CUPA!), instead of buying gifts.
  • Give Good Gift Cards instead of traditional gifts, to enable others to make donations to charities they care about.

You can hear from people who have used Good Registries and Good Gift Cards to help Good causes like CUPA, on our inspirational Giving Wall.

Share article


Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

Sign up for The Good Registry Newsletter