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Chooks bring Christmas cheer

Published: 18 December 2018

Thanks to a peep of industrious and generous chickens, some of Auckland’s more vulnerable families will have eggs for the traditional Christmas pavlova.

Earlier this year, 200 chickens were settled on Aotea Great Barrier as part of an Auckland Council biosecurity project to eliminate plague skinks.

The chickens' residency has brought success, giving the island fewer skinks and a surplus of free-range eggs.

Auckland Council’s solution to the surplus? Turn the eggs sunny side up and gift them to the City Mission.

Eggcellent support from Auckland Council

“The Auckland City Mission is incredibly grateful for the weekly delivery of eggs we’ve received from the island project,” says Auckland City Missioner Chris Farrelly.

“Eggs are of immense value to our organisation. Up until this partnership with Auckland Council we have only been donated eggs infrequently, so haven’t been able to regularly supply them to families.”

Chris and his team have used the donated eggs several ways, including giving them to families who come to them for emergency food assistance.

Sally, who has received two food parcels from the City Mission in recent months, says they’ve made a big difference.

“My kids love scrambled eggs, so I was really happy to get eggs to make this for them. It’s a real treat.”

Mayor Phil Goff says the enterprise has been a great success.

“We’re helping get rid of an imported pest and at the same time have the bonus of producing healthy food for those in need,” the Mayor said.

“The chickens have produced over 30,000 eggs with an estimated value of $20,000.

“We donate them to Auckland City Mission who distribute them to families in need. The Mission does a fantastic job for disadvantaged families, particularly at this time of year.

“This is just one more way in which Council can help them to help others,” Phil Goff said.

Aucklanders helping Aucklanders

Envirokiwi, based on Great Barrier Island, has facilitated and organised the egg collections while SeaLink has transferred the eggs back to shore every week for no charge.

SeaLink Group Sales and Marketing Manager Glenys Henry says, “SeaLink is very happy to transport the eggs to Auckland.

"We see this as a way of saying thanks to the people of Great Barrier who support and use our services regularly throughout the year, while also helping The Auckland City Mission."

Being passionate about sustainability and recycling, SkyCity Executive Chef Fiona Ruane was enthusiastic about being involved when approached, collecting trays and boxes from their kitchens to avoid the eggs arriving scrambled.

“I’m always looking for opportunities to see items re-used and was pleased we could put the boxes and egg trays to a practical use.

"It highlights what we can do with our waste and we’re really happy the eggs now have a safe trip from the island to Auckland City Mission and those in need can enjoy fresh free-range eggs.”

The Mission’s residential Social Detoxification Centre, which provides support to people detoxing from drugs and alcohol, has also benefited from the donated eggs.

Another beneficiary has been ‘Haeata’, the City Mission’s inner-city Community Centre which provides two meals daily for around 100 people experiencing homelessness or on very low incomes. The eggs helped make nutritionally rich meals to serve to the very vulnerable group.

“Our grateful thanks to all the organisations that have worked together to make this egg donation possible, Auckland Council, Sealink and SKYCITY,” says Chris.

“Your openness to looking at making this work and your generosity is greatly appreciated. It is a fantastic example of Aucklanders Helping Aucklanders. We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a wonderful 2019.”