Foodstuffs North Island partners with 155 Whare Āwhina to open Whangarei’s first social supermarket

Friday, 16 September 2022

As part of its commitment to be Here for NZ and a promise to provide New Zealanders with access to healthy affordable food and supporting communities to thrive, Foodstuffs North Island – the 100% New Zealand owned and operated co-operatives behind PAK’nSAVE, New World and Four Square – is expanding its innovative social supermarket initiative to a new partnership with 155 Whare Āwhina in Whangarei, which will provide the dignity of choice for whānau in the region who need support with accessing food. 

The social supermarket initiative which will be located at 3 Woods Road in Whangarei will be an extension of the wrap-round community services 155 Whare Āwhina already provides for whānau in the Taitokerau community. 155 Whare Āwhina currently provides legal advice through their 155 Community Law centres, help with whānau and housing support. They also have a 155 Open Arms Day Centre which is a place for people who are facing homelessness to rest, have kai and seek support. It’s here they’ve been providing free food parcels via their foodbank, and this will now turn into Whangarei’s first social supermarket. 

Food insecurity has been a longstanding issue for many local whānau in Whangarei and 155 Foodbank supply between 90 and 150 food parcels each week.  

Liz Cassidy Nelson - 155 Whare Awhina

155 Whare Āwhina CEO Liz Cassidy-Nelson says, “As a community we care about our whānau and their needs so it’s wonderful that whānau will have the ability to pick what they need. We hope the social supermarket will bring our community aroha (genuine care), manaakitanga (sense of safety and welcoming space), whanaungatanga (built on a trusted relationship) and rangatiratanga.” 

Foodstuffs North Island Head of Membership Experience Willa Hand says, this initiative is an important part of the co-operative’s promise to be Here for NZ, making a commitment to ensure everyone in Aotearoa has access to healthy food and supporting communities to thrive. 

"When people have an emergency and need food, they come to a traditional foodbank and more often than not just get given what they get given. That's really helpful, but it doesn't take into consideration cultural needs, allergies, food preferences," she said. 

"The idea behind social supermarkets is that when individuals or families have an emergency need for whatever reason - maybe they're having a tough week, or a tough month and are struggling to put food on the table – we can do more than just give them what we have in a pre-packed food parcel. The intention is to have a range of products on the shelves in our social supermarket that enables them to come in, have the dignity of choosing the products they need themselves, so they can make the kind of meals they want to cook, shopping in an environment that looks and feels like a supermarket.” 

This is Foodstuffs North Island’s fourth social supermarket partnership, following the success of the Wellington City Mission Social Supermarket, Te Hiku Pātaka in Kaitaia – in partnership with Te Kahu Oranga Whānau and the Tokoroa Social Supermarket – in partnership with BBM. 

Foodstuffs, who donated over 6.3 million meals through its Here for NZ food rescue partnerships and relationships in 2022 now plans to roll out their social supermarket initiatives to more communities in the year ahead. Discussions are already underway with community partners in six different regions, including Tauranga, to set up similar social supermarkets and make a meaningful difference to New Zealanders in need of food support.  

Social Supermarket are stacked full of everyday essentials to choose from

Every social supermarket is different, tapping into the local knowledge of community partners to tailor the offering for the needs of each community. The Foodstuffs team bring many years of retail expertise, logistical support and equipment, such as shelving and fridges for food displays, as well as providing training to the community team who will be running the supermarkets.  

Foodstuffs, whose stores are 100% locally owned and operated, also provides financial support and stock through the local PAK’nSAVE, New World and Four Square stores to the community organisations can serve those in need with confidence. 

The name of the social supermarket will be announced at the official opening on Tuesday 27th September at 3 Woods Road, Whangarei.

Learn more about Foodstuffs North Island’s commitment to be Here for NZ here .