Takapuna North Rotary, concerned for the welfare and health of the most vulnerable children and families in their community has helped kickstart the KiwiHarvest initiative on the North Shore.  This has been an outstanding success in providing fresh nutritious food to those who most need it by rescuing good food that otherwise would be thrown out.
Pictured: Bill Grieve (Takapuna North Rotary), Maria Madill (KiwiHarvest), Paul Mees, (Browns Bay Rotary), Frankie Robson, (Northcote Rotary), Ian Hackett (Takapuna North Rotary) and Janice Blomgren (KiwiHarvest’s North Shore coordinator).
A major part of getting the KiwiHarvest North Shore project off the ground for Takapuna North Rotary was the funding of $27,000 for the Green Van. The project kicked off on the North Shore May 2017 and the Rotary clubs of Browns Bay, Northcote, Albany and Devonport also contributed  towards the van. Collectively these clubs contributed $20,000 towards the van purchase with the remaining $7,000 coming from private donations from seven Rotarians.
At their meeting of Monday 11th June, Takapuna North Rotary formally handed the KiwiHarvest North Shore operation to the parent organisation at the successful completion of the 12-month establishment period.  During this time of establishing the operation relationships were developed with eleven suppliers from whom an extraordinary amount of food was rescued and delivered by volunteers to many dozens of people.
Then President, Ian Hackett, opened the evening by describing the huge impact and success that the KiwiHarvest project has had on the club, providing real purpose and drive. This was because the project directly involved large number of club members and wives/partners who all agreed that the hands-on experience of working with the community making this a wonderful experience and strengthened the camaraderie within the club and its supporters.
Speakers on the night also included representatives of KiwiHarvest food recipients in the local region and their comments were illustrative of the value of the KiwiHarvest to those in need of their service.
  • Kerry Vercarde of Whangaporoa Baptist Church spoke of her joy from Fridays, the delivery day at the Foodbank in Whangaparaoa, and gave a heartening story of how food each week helped rehabilitate a local to return to be a full member of society after facing adversity.
  • Steve McLuckie of Kaitahi Meals spoke of the last eight months serving monthly Kaitahi Meals in Belmont with up to 130 people coming together to share the warmth and experiences of the community, largely the result of the range and excellence of the food they received.
  • Jan Rutledge of de Paul House (emergency housing and family support) Rutledge talked of her experience at de Paul House where they look after 20 families for whom fresh food and vegetables are a luxury that has become integral to their wellbeing.
Copies of the Deed of Gift where handed to Maria Madill of KiwiHarvest who responded, thanking Takapuna North Rotary for all the support and highlighting KiwiHarvest’s North Shore coordinator Janice Blomgren’s outstanding contribution.
An extra special accolade was forthcoming at the conclusion of the meeting in the form of the club receiving the District 9910 Roger Manuel Trophy for 2018, an award that recognises the club "initiating a programme most likely to enhance the image of Rotary International”.
Pictured: Merv Tait (Rotary Assistant Governor) presents the Roger Manuel Trophy 2018 to Takapuna North Rotary President Ian Hackett.

About KiwiHarvest
KiwiHarvest is a fantastic initiative that started in the South Island in 2012 on the belief that every New Zealander, especially our most vulnerable children and families, should have access to fresh, nutritious food. It is all about rescuing food and nourishing communities. In March 2012, KiwiHarvest began delivering goodness to Dunedin’s charities. They expanded north and have been rescuing food in Auckland since 2015. Every month they deliver more than 60,000kgs of food to 215 charities nationally.
KiwiHarvest's work is already changing the fact that 103,000 tonnes of food is thrown away by New Zealand industry every year. KiwiHarvest is ensuring that a good percentage of that good food does not go to waste and those that need nourishment will receive it. Put simply, KiwiHarvest collects good food before it goes to waste and gets it to those in need.
KiwiHarvest explains their mission is "Two Big Problems. One Clever Solution”. They say that New Zealand produces enough food to feed 20 million people, yet every day tonnes are thrown out, and most of it is perfectly edible. Food is so often the starting point for social agencies working with their clients to break the cycle of need. Having KiwiHarvest deliver rescued food allows these agencies to concentrate on tackling the issues they’re working on and re-focus their funding on programs to help their clients.
KiwiHarvest’s focus is providing high quality, fresh food that offers more nutrition than the usual canned and dry goods, filling a gap for so many who are struggling to feed themselves and their families. The difference they make adds up to some big changes, and clearly impacts environmentally, socially and economically. This food goes to such places as Ronald McDonald House, The Fono, Tamariki Ataahua, Monte Cecilia, schools in need etc.
Volunteers are the heart and soul of KiwiHarvest. Lots of generous people give their time to the cause and the focus of the organisers is ensuring that this is fun as well as being personally rewarding. Raising funds to ensure KiwiHarvest can continue to operate is also an important part of the initiative. This is done via donations and via support from community and business/corporate groups. This has a very real impact, with every $100 representing 200 meals that KiwiHarvest can deliver.
Credit:  The basis of the above article comes from Channel magazine Issue 89 - July 2018 www.channelmag.co.nz