Kaysha Brownlie

Every Thursday Leonie Brown takes to the streets of Gisborne to deliver freezer meals to pensioners.

She's just one of a small crew who make up Gisborne catering business, Black Fig, which delivers ready made meals.

Pensioner, Joan Coleman, who looks forward to her weekly delivery says the "door service" is great.


The meals have been prepared fresh, and then frozen at the Poverty Bay Golf Club's kitchen the day before.

Amy Spence, who started the company, says the concept was born from being declined by Nadia Lim's creation, My Food Bag.

"I approached them... to see if we could get a branch of that down here but Gisborne doesn't have the population to sustain it so the next option was to come up with our own ready-meal option for people."

Initially, busy families were targeted, but soon Ms Spence realised there was demand from older people too.

"The meals on wheels here are not that popular these days so there was definitely an opening there so we started up," Ms Spence says.

Ms Spence says there's no reason why pensioners shouldn't be having fresh seasonal produce, "and that's what we're all about, and it's just nice good comfort food that they can reheat".

Pensioners often pay a cheaper price for the meals, the delivery is free, and they say their weekly catch-ups are priceless.

"I used to have people popping in all the time but in my age group they're dropping off," Ms Coleman says.

Mrs Brown says many of the elderly are lonely and it is nice to visit them.

"You find it a way of checking up on them, making sure they've actually got enough food and if they haven't, you can relay it back to the families."

"It's just nice to get out there and see them, and they always want to have a cup of tea with you and you're just making their life a little bit easier."

The team at Black Fig say for them it's not just about making a profit. It's also about investing back in the community that is investing in them.