Former All Black Endorses Campaign to Boost Food Bank Donations

by Ella

The New Zealand Food Network (NZFN) has reported a notable 20% surge in the demand for food support during the last six months of this year when compared to the same period in the previous year. In response to this growing need, the NZFN has launched a new 12-month campaign named ‘Pitch In,’ appealing to both businesses and individuals to contribute food, funds, or essential items, with the aim of virtually filling Eden Park with meals for those in need. The campaign has garnered the support of former rugby world champion and All Black, Piri Weepu, who hails from Ngāi Tahu, Whakatōhea, and Niue.

Each time Eden Park’s pitch is filled virtually, the NZFN will be able to provide an impressive 100,000 meals to individuals facing food insecurity.


The demand for food support has seen a notable increase since the times of the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly in regions impacted by Cyclone Gabrielle earlier this year.


Weepu, having experienced firsthand the challenges families face in putting food on the table, has been actively involved in assembling food packages in Wainuiomata. He expressed that joining the ‘Pitch In’ campaign was a “no-brainer.”


“A lot of food goes to waste in supermarkets, including older items that have been on display. Sometimes, ‘Pitch In’ will retrieve these items and distribute them, as families know how to put them to good use. For example, nearly overripe bananas can be used to make banana cake or bread to support families,” Weepu explained.


Reflecting on his community, Wainuiomata, he acknowledged the struggles faced by some families. Weepu expressed his enthusiasm for contributing on a broader scale, stating, “To see this initiative on a larger level is fantastic in terms of giving back and assisting those who require support. I am very grateful that the food network invited me to be an ambassador.”



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