Food network

I’ve been involved in the nonprofit sector for over a decade – this is what I learned

Former All Blacks captain David Kirk has worked in charity for over a decade.

Michael Bradley/Getty Images

Former All Blacks captain David Kirk has worked in charity for over a decade.

David Kirk is a former Rhodes Scholar, All Blacks and Rugby World Cup winning captain and currently co-founder and managing partner of Bailador, an ASX-listed investment fund. Additionally, he is Chairman of the NZ Food Network and KiwiHarvest. He’s writing a series of opinion columns for Stuff this week.

OPINION: In 2012, Deborah Manning decided to launch a food rescue business in Dunedin. She started driving around in her car asking food retailers if they had any leftover food to donate — two-day-old wrapped sandwiches, brown bananas, convenience foods approaching their best before date, that sort of thing. .

When she had a full boot, she delivered it to frontline organizations such as Women’s Refuge, food banks and other social services. Six months later, when she had more food than her toy car could hold, she asked a car dealership to give her a van, had a small warehouse (her garage), and was preparing to hire a driver. so she can focus on acquiring food donors. , raising funds and finding more suitable premises, she asked me to join KiwiHarvest as its inaugural president.

Ten years later, I’m still here and KiwiHarvest has branches in Dunedin, Auckland, North Shore, Queenstown and Invercargill. In the ten years to August, it collected and delivered 8,518,180 kg or 24,337,657 meal equivalents of donated food to individuals and families in need.

We call the food we collect and distribute “recovered food”. I really like this name. Food is planted and grown; raised and produced and in other cases manufactured and packaged to do one thing – to provide healthy nutrition. Otherwise, it rolls to the landfill and there it rots.

* The food waste bin thrown away by more than half of Hamilton households
* Food Rescue Northland saves avocados and citrus fruits from trash with North Central expansion
* The hard work of Kai Rescue volunteers is recognized

KiwiHarvest redistributes unwanted food, so it doesn't go to waste.


KiwiHarvest redistributes unwanted food, so it doesn’t go to waste.

KiwiHarvest saves food in two ways: on the one hand, so that it can fulfill its purpose of providing nutrition and, on the other hand, to prevent it from spoiling our environment.

Carbohydrates are the largest food group, and breaking down carbohydrates breaks down into many simpler molecules made up of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, including carbon dioxide and methane. Over the ten years of KiwiHarvest’s existence, the company has avoided the release of 22,573 tonnes of CO² equivalent into the atmosphere.

Then in 2020, Deborah’s second brilliant startup vision came to fruition (In my experience, entrepreneurs are invariably serial. They have lots of great ideas about the businesses they want to start and if their first idea is good, you better listen to their second, and third and fourth and…). For some time, she had been pressing the Board of Directors on the need to establish a national network for the collection and distribution of excess food in bulk.

Bulk foods that cannot be sold are usually thrown away, for a number of reasons. A few that I remember:

– A ship embarks for Malaysia with 24 tonnes of frozen fish when someone notices that the labels are printed in the wrong language;

– 20 tons of frozen chicken will exceed their expiry date before they can be marketed;

– 35 tons of carrots and second potatoes have no hearth;

– 257 dried chicken risotto pallets are available, cause unknown.


Some Kiwis say they are thinking more carefully about how much food they waste amid high prices. (Video first published in June 2022)

There really is an incredible amount of bulk surplus food in New Zealand that cannot be sold. And no local food relief organization can take it because they have nowhere to store it and it’s too much food to distribute in the time available in a local area. So he goes to the landfill.

Deborah’s second idea was to start a national network that collected all available bulk food, centralized it, and redistributed it to food relief organizations, major food banks, and iwis across the country.

We worked out our plan and our presentation platform and started to shop around in search of money. We were targeting foundations and high net worth individuals and were making headway when Covid arrived and changed the world. This put us in a position to work with the government at a time of great need.

Long story short, we created the New Zealand Food Network in 2020. It is government funded, has warehouses in Auckland and Christchurch and has distributed 15,552,685kg of food or 44,436,242 meal equivalents over the two years of operation until June 30 and avoided 22,466 tons of CO2 equivalent from the landfill.

Next, we start with the basics of starting a business, non-profit or for-profit.