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Tracey = New Zealand Local Hero of the Year Medallist

- Nov 24, 2022
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Our wonderful Tracey Pirini has been listed as a medallist for Kiwibank’s 2023 New Zealand Local Hero of the Year.

Tracey is our Head of Operations and Relationships, and she definitely lives up to her title – keeping everyone focused on feeding people not landfill. Relationships are at the heart of Tracey’s work to connect people with fresh food, and it’s awesome to see that recognised in this year’s New Zealander of the Year awards. 

The awards bio for Tracey says, “Tracey’s passion and leadership helps feed an estimated 20,000 people a week. She’s been instrumental in training supermarket managers on how to store and keep surplus food including dairy and meat products for Fair Food to rescue; she has to be quick on her feet – once she had a farmer drop off 200 kgs of ripe avocados – the next day they were distributed for people to enjoy.”

You will catch Tracey on the road visiting supermarkets, inspiring volunteers in our warehouse, or constantly picking up the phone to rescue food or help those in need. Tracey is always on the lookout for more opportunities for Fair Food and the West Auckland community where she’s from.


We couldn’t say it better than the medallist herself:

Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi, engari kē he toa takitini.

This whakatauki acknowledges team effort, that one’s success is due to the support and contribution of many. Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a community/a team to enable an individual’s success.

As a servant to your community and people you hope that your commitment, passion and actions offer examples and role models behaviours that others want to emulate so that they in turn can lead and inspire others. It’s a privilege when your mahi directly impacts on your community and people, it’s mahi that feeds your wairua.

I acknowledge those who are all part of and have contributed to all that I am today, first and foremost my parents, Haki & Susan Watene, my sisters, my family and my life long friends.

The amazing successful Māori wahine who I have had the privilege and honour to work and walk alongside, who shared their puukenga with me and who allowed me to observe, listen and learn from. Nga mihi ki a Whaea Dame June Mariu, Tui Ah Loo, Carol Ngawati, Denise Ewe

My Fair Food NZ team, whanau and Board who have supported me since I joined – you are all the real superheroes.

And finally, my 6 children and moko who taught me the art of patience, resilience, sacrifice, time management, pride, joy, compromise, how to referee, and most importantly how to love. You are my “why” – this belongs to you all.

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