Rotorua volunteers have taken their plans for a food hub for storage and distribution of locally grown produce a step further.

Kai Rotorua, previously known as the Rotorua Local Food Network, is a non-profit organisation which aims to teach locals to grow and use food crops.

Last year the not-for-profit launched plans for a multi-million-dollar hub, with a seed bank, cafe, commercial kitchen, kūmara bank, a garden, food forest and spaces for education, food storage and distribution.

It called a meeting with mayor Steve Chadwick and Rotorua Lakes Council chief executive Geoff Williams last week, to update them on their hunt for a suitable location for the hub and ask for ongoing council support.

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The meeting attracted more than 70 public supporters to the council chambers.

The Rotorua Daily Post was denied council permission to attend the meeting but was provided with follow-up comments from Kai Rotorua and the mayor.

The council's Operations and Monitoring Committee was also given a brief update at its Thursday meeting.

Kai Rotorua food hub project lead Te Rangikaheke Kiripatea, deputy chair Jasmin Jackson and chair Warren Rehu. Photo / Ben Fraser
Kai Rotorua food hub project lead Te Rangikaheke Kiripatea, deputy chair Jasmin Jackson and chair Warren Rehu. Photo / Ben Fraser

Kai Rotorua chair Warren Rehu was pleased the group's plans were taken seriously.

"For us now, we still have got to seal a location for the hub to be built, there are ongoing discussions so all parties involved have to be happy with it ... We've got only one chance, so we need to ensure we've got the correct one."

He said it was possible that further locations for the hub would be brought to the table.

"It is not clear at the moment when we will have the hub done. We would like it tomorrow but the timeline is based on where we choose to go."

Last year the majority of 552 community members surveyed said the hub was needed.

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Kai Rotorua's Ian McBride, Rotorua Lakes Council's Monica Quirke, Jasmin Jackson, architect Andrea Stocchero, Kai Rotorua's Te Rangikaheke Kiripatea and Scion science leader Doug Gaunt. Photo / File
Kai Rotorua's Ian McBride, Rotorua Lakes Council's Monica Quirke, Jasmin Jackson, architect Andrea Stocchero, Kai Rotorua's Te Rangikaheke Kiripatea and Scion science leader Doug Gaunt. Photo / File

Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick said the Kai Rotorua meeting was a "wonderful start to something that certainly fits with our district goals".

She said last year the council told Kai Rotorua to co-ordinate with other community groups with the same desires.

"They now have others on board, including Scion and Lakes District Health Board, and I think there is the potential for this to be another great Rotorua partnership."

Other collaborators include Toi Ohomai, Jasmax architects and Brown Owl Organics.

Williams said the hub concepts looked attractive, and the council was now helping the group find a site, but it was "very early days".

At the Operations and Monitoring Committee meeting chairman Charles Sturt said it was important the group didn't duplicate what Rotorua already had.

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"I mean we've got Love Soup, Salvation Army, we've got food banks, Mokoia Community Association ... They're all doing a similar thing ... So I encourage their enthusiasm too but you've got to involve everyone."