Hunger is on the rise, but so is Kiwi generosity. Fair Food calls on gardeners to donate their surplus citrus to a food bank, rather than letting it go to waste. 

“One bag of oranges might not seem like a lot to someone with a backyard of trees, but for us, it’s a whole classroom of hungry kids that now get morning tea,” urges Fair Food General Manager, Michelle Blau.  

“Last winter, Fair Food shared a week’s worth of groceries for 30,754 struggling whānau, and this year is already busier than ever. More than 220 tonnes of food was kept out of landfill, all through the generosity of food suppliers, supermarkets, and community food drives. But, that high volume is not enough to keep up with demand.

“Even grapefruit is welcome at Fair Food. It may not be to everyone’s taste, but we provide the fresh ingredients for a day’s worth of meals for 1600 people every single day, so we will find a family for whatever you’ve got in your garden. Homemade preserves and jams are also accepted in our Conscious Kitchen.

“One third of New Zealanders have less than $500 in savings, making many of us one flat tyre, winter sport, or school camp away from needing a food parcel. Food goes from a necessity to a flexible expense on a tight budget, so every little bit helps. 

“If you’ve got citrus to spare, now is the perfect time to share it. If you can’t get to a food rescue hub, then at least pop it in your nearest pātaka kai or go meet your neighbours,” encourages Michelle. 

Businesses or community groups wanting to do a winter food drive may also get in touch with Fair Food for help connecting to their closest food bank

Matariki is a time to celebrate – hard work of the harvest is over and it’s time to join together, share korero, kai, waiata and dream of what lies ahead. 

We are pleased to announce the winners of this year’s Fair Food Matariki awards: 

Tupu-a-rangi (outstanding volunteer of the year) – Mandy, James and Intelligent Environments. It was too hard to pick one volunteer this year so we separated it into three categories: the Conscious Kitchen, Food Sort and Corporate Group. Mandy has been one of our most bubbly and sought after regular volunteers. She prepares delicious meals, helps lead and induct new volunteers and brings so much joy to our Hub. James is always the first person to put his hand up to help us out when we need it. His superstar attitude and skills are greatly appreciated on our kai tables. Intelligent Environments are our fabulous Rosebank Road neighbours. They volunteer with us once a month, contribute to our Fair Food 40 programme, and are always nearby if we need a few more hands. Debbie pops by on her way home from work and collects compost for her goat Clifford. 

Waiti (frontline charity of the year) – Waitākere Indian Association. Sunil and his team at WIA go above and beyond for their community. They create delicious meals from our “fit to cook” kai. Their pick up on Friday afternoons always brings a smile to our faces with Sunil’s latest news and Tik Tok trends. WIA volunteered with us earlier in the year and include us in their cultural celebrations, too. 

Waita (sustainable food donor of the year ) – Farro Fresh. Farro Fresh have been our food donors since 2011! They continuously support Fair Food through regular volunteering, in store round ups and selling our merchandise. Their team gives us awesome rescued kai every single day. including from their purpose-built new store Smales Farm. Big ups to Farro Fresh for being our original #1 fan. 

Hiwa-i-te-rangi (funder of the year) – Simplicity. Simplicity generously donates 15% of all fees to their Simplicity Foundation which supports charities across Aotearoa. In December their members generously helped us rescue food to share more than 15,000 meals as part of their Christmas Giving campaign. 

We also hosted a staff Matariki awards to celebrate these Fair Food winners:

Matariki (passionately guiding and encouraging others) – Adele Duncan

Waipunarangi (demonstrating acts of kindness) – Matt Naber

Tupu-ā-nuku (focusing on the future of Fair Food) – Nickie Waddell

Ururangi (consistently having a superstar attitude) – Vasene Pua

A mature feijoa plant can produce up to 30 kilos of fruit. That’s a lot of cake and chutney. When you’ve had your fill, Fair Food urges you to donate your surplus fruit to a local food rescue organisation to help feed people, not landfill. 

“To see fruit rotting on the ground, when there are so many Kiwi families with empty cupboards, is heartbreaking. We know how hard people are working to get their basic needs met, and every little bit makes a big difference.”

“Hunger is very real in our community, but our friends and neighbours step up generously to help each other. There’s no such thing as too many courgettes, tomatoes, or feijoas for us. We also welcome homemade jams and chutneys. We provide the fresh ingredients for a day’s worth of meals for 1600 people every single day, so we will find a family for whatever you’ve got in your garden,” encourages Fair Food General Manager Michelle Blau.

Food brings people together, so if you notice a tree that’s not getting picked, please don’t be shy about knocking on a neighbour’s door to offer to help them. This is a perfect school holiday activity, too.

Fair Food volunteers pack around 12 tonnes of donated fresh food each week, so if you find yourself with some time, please join us at our kai tables or in our Conscious Kitchen in Avondale.


Fair Food nourishes our community by increasing access to fresh food that would otherwise go to waste. More than 2,000 volunteers prepare delicious food from scratch using ingredients donated by supermarkets and food producers. We hunger for a world where everyone has what they need and gather a diverse team around the kitchen table to change lives one bite at a time.

In 2023, we provided food for 1.7 million meals (a week’s supply for 81,500 people) through a network of 60 community organisations while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 1587 tonnes.

Fair Food is humbled to have celebrated International Women’s Day at Government House. Her Excellency the Governor General the Right Honourable Dame Cindy Kiro is a patron of Fair Food. 

Dame Cindy honoured staff, supporters, suppliers and funders of Fair Food with the beautiful manaakitanga of Government House, including these remarks: 

“Kindness can sometimes seem like an under-rated virtue, but this whakatauki would suggest otherwise:

He taonga rongonui te aroha ki te tangata – goodwill towards others is a precious treasure.

However, we know kind regard is not enough. What matters are kind deeds. 

I am not surprised Fair Food has its origins in West Auckland. Having grown up there – with some of you who are here today – I remember people who worked tirelessly to make things better for other people in their community. 

When they saw a societal need, they didn’t sit back and wait until things got better. They got stuck in and did something about it.

Food rescue groups around Aotearoa were started in the same way, by people who couldn’t sit by and do nothing about food insecurity. 

What makes your kaupapa so special is that in addition to extending manaakitanga to people who can’t feed themselves and their families, you have also diverted so much food from landfills.

It’s a kaupapa that absolutely aligns with my own strategic goals while I am Governor-General: to do what I can to promote the wellbeing of my fellow citizens and the environment; to celebrate our diversity and our common humanity; and to promote the pursuit of expert knowledge, so that our decision-making is informed and effective.

I know from my visit to Fair Food last year what a complex logistical operation it is. It cannot function without food donors, funders, supporters, volunteers and staff members, or the partner organisations that distribute the food in the community. You all play a vital part in supporting Fair Food’s operations.”

The full remarks are available online and photos from the event are available on Facebook and Instagram.

The great thing about food is that it brings people together, and that’s what our Fair Food Kete Conscious Kitchen Guide is here to do.

It is a love letter to all the families who don’t have the luxury of grocery shopping without a tight list of what’s on special. For everyone who’s had to return something at the checkout because you’ve already hit your budget. This is our way of sharing what we’ve learned along the way so you can make the most with what you have on hand.

You’ll always find plenty of veggies in Fair Food’s kai boxes. But, sometimes they’re a little different to what you might be used to cooking with. So, we’ve included some tips for cooking veggies, making an amazing soup, or doing a curry from tinned food.

Huge thanks to our neighbours Life Health Foods who helped make this guide possible, and to our friends at Auckland Council and the Tui Flower Foundation who sponsored our cooking clubs last year, where many of these tips were perfected.

You are welcome at our kai tables anytime.

“No mum wants to send their kids to school with an empty lunchbox. Every day, we visit kids who are staying home from school because of hunger,” shares an attendance advisor, while Fair Food volunteers load up her car with fresh produce, eggs, and dairy for a family of four. 

“Food is exactly what we need to get kids back in school. More and more families are being sent our way due to chronically missing school or are caught shoplifting for a bit of food so that they just have something to eat for lunch.

“We can work with the families, but until they have food, there will be a barrier to attendance.” 

Fair Food has seen a huge rise in referrals for food assistance through schools. In addition to support through police and truancy services, we are now making lunch packs for schools that don’t qualify for the Ka Ora Ka Ako government lunch programme. 

“The cost of living keeps outpacing salaries, and more and more families who work full-time now need help with food. There’s kids in our community who save their school lunch, so there’s something for them to eat for dinner.

“We are now operating seven days a week to help people who work Monday through Friday and can’t get to a traditional social service because they’re working when it’s open,” says Fair Food General Manager Michelle. 

The Kai Club, started by students at a local Intermediate School, distributed soup and bread throughout winter until their supplies ran out. They turned to Fair Food to fill the gap. Niva, the Leader of Pasifika shared, “We are so grateful to Fair Food who have stepped in to provide us with pre-made food which the Kai Club reheats and distributes. Through their kind donation, we have been able to provide food to students daily as well as toast and fruit to any student who needs a snack during lunchtime.”

“Thanks to the generosity of our community, we have been able to help make sure hunger doesn’t get in the way of learning” says Michelle. “An $11 donation means a week’s worth of meals for someone who would otherwise not eat.” 

Fair Food is humbled to have passed the milestone of sharing 5 million meals worth of fresh food with people in need, since 2021.

Thank you to Radio New Zealand for having us on to chat about our top tips for food waste minimisation.

Supermarkets, food manufacturers, and growers donate their surplus fresh ingredients to Fair Food, which prepares them for distribution through a network of 60 Auckland community groups. 

In 2023, Fair Food kept 656 tonnes of food from going to landfill, which is like 72,906 kerbside rubbish collections. 


Advice for all 

Here are 10 top tips for making your food last longer, so you get the most for your money. 

Ignore the best before dates and use your judgement about when a food is no longer to your liking. Any label other than “use by” does not impact food safety and is purely cosmetic. 

Storage: learn which foods go together, so they don’t spoil each other. Keep bananas and tomatoes away from other fruits. Learn the temperature zones of your fridge, so each item stays at the best temperature for it.

Decant your salad greens into a container with a paper towel to soak up the moisture instead of leaving them in a plastic bag. 

Love your leftovers: fried rice, pizza, puff pastry, or rice paper rolls are all easy bases for any spare veggies or meat. They are crowd pleasers for kids, too, because they can help with the assembly. 

If you have any vegetable that’s not your favourite, like a broccoli stalk, grate it instead of chopping it. 


Next Level

Meal plan: before you go to the store, take a pic of the inside of your pantry and fridge if you’re someone who tends to forget which ingredients you already have. Write your menu for the week before you grocery shop, so you know exactly what needs to be on your shopping list and can buy foods that work for more than one meal. 

Bake with it: milk on its last life works like buttermilk in baking. Bananas or brown avocado are great egg substitutes. Bruised fruit is perfect tucked into a puff pastry sheet, tart, or jam. If you are bulk-buying fruits this time of year while they’re less expensive, wash and freeze them now for your smoothies or baking all year round. 



Lemons: Use your lemon rinds in a cleaning solution or pickle them. 

Soup stock: make your own bone broth by boiling bones and vegetable peels.

Milk: turn it into yoghurt, butter, labneh, or mozzarella instead of letting it go to waste.

A group of Kiwis are determined to fight food waste this holiday season.

Fair Food is an organisation that works seven days a week, 365 days a year, to try and fix two major issues in New Zealand – food poverty and food waste.

An army of volunteers operate out of a West Auckland warehouse, constantly sorting through food destined for the landfill and trying to find it a home where it’s desperately needed.

Two thousand kilograms of kai is delivered to the organisation by supermarkets who have, for a range of different reasons, deemed it unable to be sold.

Fair Food general manager Michelle Blau said it’s usually produce that consumers won’t buy due to being disfigured or unattractive.

“People often buy food like strawberries, blueberries and tomatoes in groups, but as soon as one item goes off then no one is purchasing it. That doesn’t mean we can’t pick through it and make a a beautiful new box of strawberries for someone else,” she said.

This examination process means they’re able to turn that two tonnes of food into 6000 meal boxes, working with 50 different charities to get it to those in need.

“When people are hungry there’s no reason why perfectly good food should end up in the bin,” Blau told 1News.

“We’re trying to recognise ourselves into non-existence, the big numbers represent more hunger and more waste, neither of which we want to see.”

Fair Food is gearing up to share enough fresh food for more than 100,000 meals this December to families who would otherwise go without.

“The demand for food support is higher than ever before, but our community is rallying to meet the need, so everyone has a meal to share on Christmas,” says Michelle Blau, Fair Food General Manager. 

“More than 200 volunteers have already signed up to help us sort through 30 tonnes of fresh food and get it ready for distribution via 50 local charities.

“Food brings people together, but it can also be a source of shame when you have nothing to bring to a gathering. Far too many people in our community miss out on social activities because of hunger. 

“No one’s grocery budget is going as far as it used to, and with the kids at home for summer, we know that adds extra costs and pressures on families who are already doing it tough. Fair Food is operating 7 days a week to meet the growing demand from people who work full-time but need food support,” shares Michelle.

Join our friends and neighbours who are pitching in. 

Bid for items on our 12 days of Christmas TradeMe auction. There’s something for everyone on the naughty or nice list. 

Order our Fair Food cupcakes and savoury treats for your next gathering.

Bring your family around to volunteer in our Conscious Kitchen or at our sorting tables. 

Fair Food is proud to be a founding member of the Steering Committee for Kai West. Our collective vision is for a nourished West Auckland where people have access to healthy, affordable and culturally appropriate food from a local and regenerative food system.

Kai West emerged from the Collaborative Marketplace in 2017 where community organisations came together to find ways to collectively support the people of West Auckland with a focus on prioritising Māori and Pacific people and honouring Te Tiriti o Waitangi. The organisations who came together to talk about kai during this time still make up the core membership of the collective today.

Fair Food chairs the Free Food Forum to connect the diverse eco-system of organisations providing emergency free food support. By coordinating efforts, pooling resources, and sharing skills and knowledge, community organisations are able to strengthen their services and reach families needing support swiftly and safely.

“Our community is incredible and takes excellent care of each other, so it was no surprise that many groups wanted to provide food support during the pandemic. It was invaluable to have coordinated approaches, so social service providers knew where to direct their clients, and food could more easily be distributed in a safe and culturally-appropriate manner. Ultimately, you can’t solve hunger with food, so being part of Kai West allows us to advocate for systems change that reduce inequality. Our goal is to not be needed,” says Michelle, Fair Food General Manager.

Check out Kai West’s impact.