‘Upcycled’ Gourmet Dining in Whakatāne

Chefs Preparing Upcycled Food

Tuesday, 20 Nov 2018

In New Zealand, 122,000 tonnes of edible food (enough to feed eight times the population of Whakatāne for an entire year) goes into landfill. The Waste Not Want Not Charitable Trust is trying to change that by showing how we can reduce food waste and feed communities with food rescued from supermarkets, grocery stores and local produce suppliers. 

The Trust has rescued over 15.9 tonnes of food in six months and donated more than 1000 volunteer hours to help reduce food waste in the community.  

“At Toi Ohomai, we have had many conversations around food waste and always try to incorporate an ‘awareness-raising’ component in our teaching to inspire students to think sustainably when they work. What better way to show the opportunities to create and make a difference than through such a unique feasting experience using upcycled foods,” says Craig Searle, Senior Chef Tutor at Toi Ohomai. 

More than 40 of the Trust’s stakeholders gathered for an evening of good food and great company, with the Toi Ohomai Level 4 Culinary Arts and Cookery students creating a beautifully-crafted spread using donated food that was near or just-past expiry date. The donated food made up 90% of what was served, including the non-alcoholic beverages. 

“The whole process also sees a lot of people coming together – students, stakeholders, the council and local organisations who are kind enough to donate their food,” says Craig. 

“We are very pleased with the outcome of the event and hope that we can replicate its success throughout the rohe. So many families in our communities go hungry and it is good to drive that awareness home, but also to be able to actually make a tangible difference.” 


Waste Not Want Not distributes good quality, fresh food to the community and individuals on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 4-5pm at Pou Whakaaro’s Community Centre, 2 Bracken Street in Whakatāne. For more information contact: Janene Maguire, founder Waste Not Want Not at 027 550 0501.