The ingredients are simple.

A few tonnes of rescued food that would otherwise be sent to landfill, a handful of people in the community who are ready to make a change in their lives and a large helping of new learning experiences.

These elements will be mixed up and cooked together in the Good Neighbour Charitable Trust's commercial kitchen project - Good Neighbour Kitchen.

The result is set to minimise food waste in the region and provide life skills and job opportunities for those struggling to find employment.


The trust has now raised enough money through funding grants and donations to make the idea a reality and the commercial kitchen will be constructed at their premises on Burrows St.

Food co-ordinator Jackie Paine says the trust is waiting for consent from the Tauranga City Council and hopes to start building the kitchen by the end of the year.

Paine says she has wanted to create the kitchen for many years because it is a "no-brainer".

"The kitchen will address the real issues of society; food waste, hunger and unemployment."

Paine would love for the community to not need the kitchen or food rescue but the focus was to address the poverty she often witnessed.

"The ideal point to get to would be that we are not needed," she says.

The exact plans of the kitchen are being worked out and the culinary programme is being developed thanks to the help of local chefs and Toi Ohomai tutors Peter Blakeway and Lee Pearce.

Paine says the goal is for the kitchen to be a social enterprise where high-quality products are created and sold.


She predicts about 10 people will be able to learn in the kitchen at once but different numbers will be trialled.

Paine says the mentoring programme will not only teach culinary skills but will also help participants learn soft skills such as turning up on time, working in a team or creating a CV.

A catering team was created five months ago and had been busy catering events and creating corporate platters every week, which had proven the idea of creating delicious products from rescue food was viable.

"It's really exciting. There's a lot of people in need or who are not able to get to the next stage of life, this is going to provide them with so many new opportunities."

Paine has seen the trust grow hugely since its inception five years ago.

Initially Good Neighbour was run out of the back of Paine and her husband John's car. There was only one supermarket and two charities on board with the food rescue.

"We wanted to reduce the impact of food waste on the environment and feed people who needed food," she says.

And that's what the team of more than 300 volunteers and staff have done.

Today there are 13 supermarkets in the city that provide Good Neighbour with food that was destined for the rubbish bin.

About 10 tonnes of food is processed each week and given to 55 different charities to distribute throughout the community.

Food rescue is not the only focus of the trust. The team at Good Neighbour are responsible for building neighbourhood gardens and conducting neighbourhood projects.