Kaitahi, a community dining initiative at the Pt Chevalier Community Centre, has been bringing communities together and serving free dinners since 2015 using rescued food.
It was originally set up by Sophie Barclay, a Pt Chev resident who was inspired by Australian organisation Open Table, with the support from Albert-Eden Local Board, KiwiHarvest food rescue charity and many friends.
After a couple of dinners, overseas adventures were calling for Sophie and Tenisha Kumar, along with a committed group of individuals kept Kaitahi going from 2016 onwards.
“We ran monthly dinners with anywhere from 30 people to over 100, with regulars and new faces turning up every month. The dinners are cooked by a team of committed volunteers and we encourage people to participate,” says Kumar.
“If you would like to help in the kitchen, please get in touch with us first and we'll let you know how you can help out.”
Most of the food is supplied by KiwiHarvest, a food rescue organisation that collects good food before it goes to waste and distributes it to community organisations.
“Kaitahi aims to bring people together to foster connection, inclusion and break down social isolation by sharing a meal made from rescued food. The guiding principles of Kaitahi are sharing, warmth, community and inclusiveness which means everyone is welcome,” says Plaxy Wish, Programme Coordinator, Auckland Council.
Held on the second Wednesday of every month, Kaitahi regularly attracts upwards of 50 people.
Dinner is served at 6.30pm and is free for everyone who shows up.
Find Kaitahi at Pt Chev on Facebook.
The Kaitahi model in Bayswater
In 2017, another group interested in setting up community dinners using the Kaitahi model decided to set up in Bayswater. They are local residents in their community who saw a need and wanted to fill it, similar to how Kaitahi began in Pt Chev. As Kaitahi Pt Chev celebrated their 2nd Birthday, Kaitahi Bayswater was born!