Gilmours Mount Roskill (Foodstuffs New Zealand) have joined a joint effort to supply a food security package for Tokelau to ensure its residents have grocery essentials during COVID-19 restrictions.
An effort between the Government of Tokelau, the Tokelau administration team based in Apia, Mr. Ross Arden (Administrator for Tokelau), MFAT New Zealand and Gilmours Mount Roskill, four shipping containers full of grocery and household essentials embarked on a sea voyage bound for Tokelau on Tuesday, 21 April. Departing from Auckland Port, the boat will arrive to Apia on Monday 27 April, where the shipping containers will be moved to a smaller boat bound for Tokelau’s three atolls.
The shipping containers contain shelf-stable essentials such as long-life milk, rice, pasta, canned goods and cleaning products.
“Tokelau is a very vulnerable and isolated nation with limited self-resources,” says Robert O’Halloran, Contractor for the Government of Tokelau. “We needed a ‘one stop shop’ where Tokelau could purchase grocery essentials. We also needed to find a wholesale partner who could receive the shipping containers, pack them full of grocery essentials and send them to the port for loading, which is no easy feat in general, let alone during a global pandemic. I called Gilmours Mount Roskill, knowing they would have the facilities and supply, and they didn’t hesitate to lend us a helping hand.”
Grocery supplies for Tokelau are regularly sourced through Apia, but the current COVID-19 environment has proved incredibly challenging to get the regular grocery essentials Tokelau needs to feed its 1,400 residents. Tokelau is one of three Realm countries with Tokelau as a Territory of New Zealand. The only means of transportation for getting supplies to Tokelau is by boat via Samoa, its closest neighbour, which is still between a 24-30 hour boat trip.
“We have a responsibility to look after our Pacific Island neighbours, especially during challenging times,” says Aaron Kedzlie, owner operator of Gilmours Mount Roskill. “This food security package will ensure Tokelau’s residents are well-fed and in a good position to look after its people for months to come.”