Helping people in the clothing environment is in Jane Mooney’s veins, and volunteering at Te Whare Koha, the free clothing hub in Highbury, was a natural way for her to continue doing this following a 35-year span at Ezibuy. Officially she works 3 days a week, but often takes clothes home to wash and iron them so they’re looking their best for display.

Anyone from the community can visit Te Whare Koha at 42 Pembroke Street between 9am-12 noon weekdays, to access free clothing, linen, kitchenware, furniture, and baby equipment. They also have a pātaka kai (community food sharing shelf), often stocked with donated food from Just Zilch and Te Tihi, as well as fruit and veggies from their small on-site community garden. Sustainability is at their core: rescuing items and food that would otherwise go to landfill.

One of around 10 volunteers at Te Whare Koha, Jane really enjoys the friendliness between visitors and staff, with visitors often bringing staff treats to show their appreciation for Te Whare Koha’s hard mahi in the community.

Te Whare Koha is an initiative run by the not-for-profit charitable trust, Te Roopu Oranga O Highbury, which also provides transport for Highbury residents to health and social services, a free community phone, as well as peer support and a community advisory, information, and referral service.

When asked about their greatest needs, as well as the ongoing need for donated items and volunteers, money for overheads and a larger, cheaper premises were also at the top of the list.

If you would like to make a monetary donation to Te Whare Koha, please visit their give-a-little page: Te Roopu Oranga O Highbury Charitable Trust - Givealittle. Items for donation can be dropped off to Te Whare Koha during opening hours.

Te Whare Koha is linked to Environment Network Manawatū’s Manawatū Food Action Network.