Local Hero Finalist Jackie Lee Morrison

The New Zealand Food Awards powered by Massey University is proud to announce the finalists in the 2020 New Zealand Food Heroes Award. The line-up reveals the astonishing scope and scale of innovation and community spirit unleashed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Massey University’s National Events and Sponsorship Manager, Kelly Douglas, says the range of food heroes is heart-warming.

NZFoodLove Gift Boxes were sent to all finalists from the NZ Food Awards

“The campaign has brought to light a myriad of ways the food sector adapted to the challenges and uncertainties of living during a global pandemic. Kiwis can be proud of Aotearoa’s food and beverage community and the efforts they have made for our team of five million,” she says. “The New Zealand Food Awards, Massey University and our partner network are proud to congratulate all the finalists and we acknowledge the efforts of all of our food heroes who were nominated.”

From a salmon farmer on Stuart Island to urban bakeries, from charitable organisations and individuals to key players in the food sector – Kiwis proved to be nimble, smart and kind in diverse ways. New Zealand Food Heroes Award finalists include organisations large and small who ‘pivoted’ to provided meals and food parcels to the vulnerable, isolated or needy in urban and rural communities, as well as other food-related services to lift spirits during these challenging times. 

Kai packs for the elderly; a lemonade producer who switched to making hand sanitizer, a top restaurant that donated meals to hospice patients; a woman who provided food packs to struggling farmers, and numerous companies who adapted to online food shopping and delivery are just a few.

Finalists for six categories have been selected from more than 340 nominees sent in by people and businesses from all over Aotearoa. The campaign was launched by the New Zealand Food Awards, in place of their usual programme as a way for Kiwis to show their appreciation and support for the numerous ‘heroes’ across all sectors of the food and beverage industry. Categories include: Innovators; Outstanding Service; Local Hero; Greater Good; Industry Supporter and The Dream Team. Several nominees have been named finalists in more than one category.

In addition to the six categories, organisers are excited to announce their seventh category: The People’s Choice. Open from 1 – 14 September, New Zealanders will be able to vote for the finalist they feel deserves to win a New Zealand Food Heroes Award.

You can vote online at: www.foodawards.co.nz/vote.

Winners will be announced on October 8 at the annual gala dinner, lockdown levels permitting.

FINALISTS

The Dream Team

Awarded to the Staff / Crew, within an organisation, nominated for their collective efforts. This may also be awarded to one team member who facilitated the collective efforts.

•             Bread & Butter Bakery  

The bakery quickly pivoted to partner with local farmers to provide essential food boxes to people in the local community.

•             Graham Reid

Graham spent 39 days on the Stewart Island salmon farm to ensure all equipment ran smoothly for his team to do their job efficiently.

•             Joanne Tonge

Joanne went above and beyond her duties to make sure Leader Products and other companies’ essential items were available.

•             Katikati Community Services Covid-19 Response Group

Katikati community ensured that the needs of their most vulnerable, from food, clothing, accommodation, to delivery, were met during lockdown.

•             KiwiHarvest

KiwiHarvest worked tirelessly with food businesses over lockdown to redistribute good food to charitable organisations.

•             Pic’s Peanut Butter

Pic’s stepped up to support staff (care packages, Easter eggs, workplace health and safety) and ensure no job losses during lockdown.

•             Ridgeline Adventures   

When their business stopped overnight, the team volunteered time and vehicles to deliver groceries to vulnerable residents.

•             Tussock Café

Tussock Café created plentiful three-meal-a-day kits for Massey Halls Wellington residents to ensure access to quality food.

•             Villa Maria – Viticulture, Winemaking & Harvest Crews   

This team went above and beyond, living out of campervans for 6 weeks to ensure the 2020 crop was harvested safely.

•             Waitarere Beach Four Square staff

This team met the local community’s needs every day, especially the elderly and vulnerable, thus keeping them safe.

Greater Good

Awarded to a person / organisation whose nomination directly related to charitable or voluntary services or services deemed ‘not-for-profit’.

•             BrezelMania

BrezelMania donated fresh bread for emergency food parcels that went out to 9000 people in need across Wellington.

•             Everybody Eats NZ         

They partnered with other charitable organisations to donate ready-made meals to vulnerable families in South Auckland.

•             Fair Food Charitable Trust

Fair Food successfully coordinated national food rescue, redistributing over 400,000 meals per month to those in need scaling up their infrastructure.

•             Karl Campbell   

Karl and Coq Au Vin provided top-quality chicken and freezer space for 200,000+ emergency meals to assist the Ministry of Social Development.

•             KiwiHarvest

KiwiHarvest worked tirelessly with food businesses over lockdown to redistribute good food to charitable organisations.

•             Meat The Need

This charitable organisation enables farmers to donate livestock that is converted into mince to feed families in need.

•             New Zealand Sikh Community

The group gave out free meals to 15,000 families from Auckland to Queenstown who were impacted by the lockdown.

•             Ridgeline Adventures   

When their business stopped overnight, the team volunteered time and vehicles to deliver groceries to vulnerable residents.

•             Sandy Inwood

Chateau Marlborough donated evening meals to Hospice Marlborough patients throughout the entire lockdown period.

•             Tony Egan and Greenlea Meats

Tony donated over $100k of meat to charities, including St Vincent de Paul to feed people in need during the lockdown.

Industry Supporter

Awarded to a person / organisation that have supported the food and beverage industry, offering resources, guidance or services.

•             Craig Prichard

Craig ran the annual sheep dairy conference online and published excellent newsletters to keep the members engaged throughout lockdown.

•             Distilled Spirits Aotearoa (DSA)

DSA provided an interest holiday and gained permission for distilleries to make spirits and high-quality hand sanitisers during lockdown.

•             Karl Campbell   

Karl and Coq Au Vin provided top-quality chicken and freezer space for 200,000+ emergency meals to assist the Ministry of Social Development.

•             Gilmours Wellington

Gilmours offered essential dry goods, freezer space, and loaned distribution/delivery trucks to the MSD emergency food project.

•             KiwiHarvest

KiwiHarvest worked tirelessly with food businesses over lockdown to redistribute good food to charitable organisations.

•             Poppy Renton

Poppy initiated the Hawke’s Bay Drought Feed Run to support isolated farmers and producers who were impacted by this crisis.

•             Restaurant Association of New Zealand (RANZ)

RANZ provided their members with legal updates, training/advice during lockdown and forwarded concerns to the government.

•             SOS Café

David Downs set up SOS Café to support local cafes and restaurants. Vouchers could be bought online for a future visit.

•             The Modern Forager     

The Modern Forager was set up to connect food-loving Kiwis with New Zealand grown, harvested and made products.

•             Waikato Food Inc

This team created a free online directory to promote the Waikato food sector, connecting chefs with local growers and helped with business plans and marketing.

Innovators

Awarded to a person / organisation who adapted to meet a change in demand or for products or services that emerged as a result or despite of COVID-19.

•             Bidfood Home  

Bidfood launched BidfoodHome, delivering food around NZ with their state-of-the-art fleet and distribution centres.

•             Bread & Butter Bakery  

The bakery quickly pivoted to partner with local farmers to provide essential food boxes to people in the local community.

•             CountdownX

The Priority Assistance Service was developed to ensure vulnerable customers were allocated time slots to access essential food.

•             Heilala Vanilla

Heilala Vanilla produced a commercial grade sanitiser from their vanilla product to assist communities in Tonga.

•             Mahurangi Oysters

Lisa and Andrew pivoted their business to offer direct shipping and successfully boosted online sales through social media.

•             Maxine Scheckter

Maxine pivoted her business to offer online baking classes which were an invaluable part of lifting spirits during lockdown.

•             Meat The Need

This charitable organisation enables farmers to donate livestock that is converted into mince to feed families in need.

•             Olliff Farms

Olliff Farms offered their award-winning eggs directly to consumers in an effort to “Save our Girls” (3500 hens).

•             SOS Café

David Downs set up SOS Café to support local cafes and restaurants. Vouchers could be bought online for a future visit.

•             The Pure Food Co.

The team worked with other organisations to distribute kai packs and donated care packs to the elderly or vulnerable.

Local Hero

Awarded to a person / organisation that directly supported their community on a local scale.

•             Cathy Yee

Cathy helped implement home delivery service, keep the business running as well as 40 plus staff in jobs during lockdown.

•             Diana Greer

Diana’s “The Collective Hug” was a huge voluntary effort, packing and delivering donated food to struggling Hawke’s Bay farmers.

•             Gramados Restaurant

Saulo and his team celebrated his and his late father’s birthdays by offering meals for families in need during level 2.

•             Jackie Lee Morrison

Jackie helped impacted eateries in Wellington by selling their recipes in a cookbook and organising food delivery service.

•             Joanne Costar

Joanne set up an online grocery system for immunocompromised residents using all local producers to support both groups.

•             Joanne Tonge

Joanne went above and beyond her duties to make sure Leader Products and other companies’ essential items were available.

•             Poppy Renton

Poppy initiated the Hawke’s Bay Drought Feed Run to support isolated farmers and producers who were impacted by this crisis.

•             Rebecca Culver

Just Zilch’s founder partnered up with other food rescue agencies for better food distribution across the Manawatū during lockdown.

•             Ridgeline Adventures   

When their business stopped overnight, the team volunteered time and vehicles to deliver groceries to vulnerable residents.

•             Waitarere Beach Four Square staff

This team met the local community’s needs every day, especially the elderly and vulnerable, thus keeping them safe.

Outstanding Service

Awarded to a person / organisation who demonstrated exceptional service, and/or adaptability to ensure continuity for the food chain during the COVID-19 response.

•             Countdown Team

The team adapted quickly to a huge increase in online shopping demand and were able to achieve phenomenal milestones.

•             Everybody Eats NZ         

They partnered with other charitable organisations to donate ready-made meals to vulnerable families in South Auckland.

•             Foodstuffs

Foodstuffs developed overnight delivery, virtual queues, essential boxes and customised operations to support customers.

•             Green Meadows Beef NZ

They stepped up to deliver online orders, supply to supermarkets, create the scalable premium meat box and offer employment to locals.

•             Joanne Tonge

Joanne went above and beyond her duties to make sure Leader Products and other companies’ essential items were available.

•             Moreish Organic Butchery

In lockdown, Moreish team worked tirelessly to deliver organic, free-range meat boxes with handwritten notes included.

•             New World Foxton

The store offered phone call orders, extra deliveries and ready meals as well as donating to charitable organisations.

•             Pete’s Natural Lemonade

The business changed their factory to produce hand sanitisers at a discount as a way to support the local community.

•             Sandy Inwood

Chateau Marlborough donated evening meals to Hospice Marlborough patients throughout the entire lockdown period.

•             The Little Organic Egg Company

This company offered home delivery at competitive price, provided clear communication and supported multiple charities.

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New Zealand Food Awards Supporting Partners include Massey University; New Zealand Food Safety; Countdown; James & Wells; AsureQuality; Palmerston North City Council; New Zealand Trade and Enterprise; Cuisine; Villa Maria; FoodHQ; FMCG Business; The Shout; The FoodBowl; The FoodPilot; XPO; New Zealand Institute of Food Science and Technology

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