Governor-General serves at Compassion Soup Kitchen

1 GG soup

A warm welcome greeted the Governor-General of New Zealand, Dame Cindy Kiro, on her visit to the Compassion Soup Kitchen on Saturday, June 18.

Serving as a volunteer to the whānau guests who came for a hot meal, the Governor-General’s visit coincided with the 187th birthday celebration of Meri Hōhepa Suzanne Aubert.

Accompanied by His Excellency Richard Davies, Dame Cindy was welcomed by Danny Karatea-Goddard, co-chief executive – Tumu Whakarae – of the Sisters of Compassion Group, and Sam Johnson, Soup Kitchen manager.

Established by Meri Hōhepa 121 years ago, the Compassion Soup Kitchen, at 132 Tory Street in central Wellington, is a key component of food security in the capital. After a health and safety briefing, Dame Cindy and Dr Davies prepared themselves and put on the standard personal protective equipment (PPE), and set about serving meals and talking to whānau guests for one-and-a-half hours.

On completing the evening meal service, they noted the work of the Compassion Soup Kitchen, in continuing Mother Aubert’s remarkable legacy by supporting people in need in the community.

“Although the mission of Meri Hōhepa was to ensure there was no need for a soup kitchen in Wellington, the need for a free warm meal is increasing for many in our city,” said Dr Chris Gallavin, co-chief executive — Tumu Whakare. “Over the coming months, we will be doing all we can to step-up to meet that need,” he added.

The Compassion Soup Kitchen serves nearly 200 meals each day, and has delivered over 50,000 meals in the last twelve months, serving breakfast between 7.45am and 8.45am, and dinner between 4:45pm and 5:45pm, from Monday to Saturday. “Whomever walks through that door in need gets a meal,”’ said Mr Johnson.

Dame Cindy’s visit formed part of a series of activities to mark the anniversary of the birth of Meri Hōhepa Suzanne Aubert, who was also remembered in a special Mass celebrated at the chapel of Our Lady’s Home of Compassion, in Island Bay on Sunday, June 19.

The principal celebrant was Cardinal John Dew, who said that Meri Hōhepa had a heart full of love for all. “Let us have a heart like an artichoke, and so big that everyone can have a leaf of it,” Cardinal Dew added.

The 187th anniversary celebration recalled the legacy of Suzanne Aubert, who was born on June 19, 1835, in Saint-Symphorien-de-Lay, near Lyon in France, and emigrated to Aotearoa New Zealand in 1860.

Meri Hōhepa Suzanne Aubert was a prominent teacher, nurse, health care innovator, social welfare pioneer, and advocate for disadvantaged children, the poor and the sick “of all faiths and none”.

Posted in

Rowena Orejana

Reader Interactions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.