Living below the line: Auckland couple's tale of when a can of tuna becomes a highlight

By Melissa Nightingale

When Hannah and Jordan 'Pedro' Miller did their grocery shopping this week, they allowed themselves to splurge - on an extra can of tuna.

While it might not sound like everybody's idea of a treat, for people living at the extreme poverty line it's likely the biggest type of treat they're going to get.

For the Millers, their two cans of tuna are the only forms of meat they'll be able to eat for the next five days as they take part in Live Below the Line, a fundraising effort designed to show people what it's like to live on just $2.85 a day, as many in extreme poverty do.

I was sitting down working out how many servings in a bottle of soy sauce.
Hannah Miller

Money raised in the challenge, run through Tearfund, goes towards fighting human trafficking and sex slavery.

"The relevance is that people living in extreme poverty are more vulnerable to being coerced or tricked into trafficking," Hannah said.

The Red Beach, Auckland couple were only allowed to spend $28.50 on their groceries for the next five days as part of the challenge, a task that took a fair amount of pre-budgeting.

"I was sitting down working out how many servings in a bottle of soy sauce - how much does an onion roughly weigh," Hannah said.

"We had to price check everything, which is something we don't normally do. We're just like, 'Oh, that looks yummy, let's get that.'"

The couple have not done the challenge before, but have participated in World Vision's 40 Hour Famine in the past.

Their young adults group decided to do the challenge as a team after hearing about it through Coast Vineyard Church, which they attend.

"There's about eight of us from our church that are participating so we can all be hungry and grumpy together."

Hannah and Pedro thought they'd find the lack of sugar and caffeine the hardest part to deal with.

Pedro said he would miss his "cheeky sweets".

The Millers' groceries included the simplest meal ingredients.
The Millers' groceries included the simplest meal ingredients.

They had planned simple meals, including pasta with a tin of chopped tomatoes mixed in, and rice with mixed vegetables and tuna. One snack option was 100g of rice and one tablespoon of soy sauce.

They said the normal amount they would spend for five days worth of groceries would be $70-80.

At the end of their shop, they found they had a little left over to spend.

"There was a little bit of money left, but we thought we were going to get another tuna," Hannah said.

The couple are big meat lovers, but the two cans of tuna will be the only meat they consume for the next five days, if chicken seasoning doesn't count.

Hannah experienced "genuine disappointment" when the peanut butter, which she'd priced out last week, had gone up 70c.

Anyone wanting to sponsor them can head to, click donate to a friend, and type in 'Hannah and Pedro'.

"It's not a competition but we're the best," Hannah said.

So far they have raised just under $700 - an amount they admit would fetch a fair few cans of tuna.

The couple will be keeping a video diary of their experience doing the challenge.

Tune in to each morning for Hannah and Pedro's video diary to see how they are doing.


Budget macaroni elbows 500g - $0.95
Budget rice long brown 1kg - $1.79
Budget tomatoes chopped 400g x2 - $1.56
Giant multigrain toast 500g x2 - $1.90
Masterfoods all purpose seasoning 200g - $6.79
Pak'nSave checkout bags x3 - $0.30
Pams peanut butter smooth 375g - $2.45
Pams tuna chunks in oil 185g x2 - $3.58
Solos Choice coconut cream 400ml - $0.99
Apples NZ Queen 1.98kg - $2.95
Carrots 0.855kg - $1.44
Garlic - $2.99
Onions brown 0.695kg - $1.17
Pumpkin crown cut - $0.99
Pams mixed vegetables 1kg - $2.69

TOTAL = $32.54

- NZ Herald

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