A suburban Hamilton kitchen will be transformed into a production line tonight to make about 250 halal meals for the victims of the Christchurch terror attacks.
Rototuna pharmacist Keshree Naidoo-Rauf, who married into a Muslim family, has enlisted the help of her father-in-law Mohammed Rauf and the wider community to cook up a storm for Christchurch.
The pair will be meeting at Rauf's house in Rototuna tonight to make a bulk lot of chicken pilau that they will then package into 200 single-serve containers.
Rauf, a teacher at Insoll Avenue school, has years of experience catering for events including a 1500 guest wedding and will be joined by members of Hamilton's Muslim community. The imam will say a prayer to bless the food and they will also label every meal to reassure people they are halal.
The pair have already purchased the 10kg of rice and 35kg of chicken needed for the popular one-pot meal and will start cooking tonight.
Naidoo-Rauf said the initiative is being funded by the Rototuna Business Network, which comprises about 20 companies including Rototuna Unichem Pharmacy which she owns with her husband.
The network had planned to donate to Christchurch, but it was only when Naidoo-Rauf saw on the news last week that there was a shortage of pre-cooked pre-packed halal food that she pitched the idea.
She then started making calls and with some generous support from Hamilton Airport and Air New Zealand had booked herself on a return flight to Christchurch with check-in luggage for the meals.
Naidoo-Rauf said after contacting courier companies it became clear the national airline would be the quickest way to deliver them and while they wouldn't just take baggage they offered her a cheap seat with six check-in concessions.
Tomorrow morning she will be heading to the airport with six chilly bins which she will deliver to the Victim Support organising committee in Christchurch before returning to Hamilton two-hours later.
Naidoo-Rauf said it was a really positive experience and had shown her how easy it was for community groups in other parts of the country to help.
She said the whole initiative had cost under $1000. This included chilly bins and ice packs donated from one of the pharmacy's suppliers ProPharma, halal chicken supplied at cost and the discounted airline ticket.