Pork programme win-win for farmers, whanau

Uruuruwhenua Health mauri ora/whanau ora navigator Grace Gibbons is distributing pork roasts to...
Uruuruwhenua Health mauri ora/whanau ora navigator Grace Gibbons is distributing pork roasts to people under a government initiative, recently rolled out to support New Zealand communities. PHOTO: ALEXIA JOHNSTON
An Alexandra health service is supporting those in need, one pork roast at a time.

Uruuruwhenua Health has received boxes of pork cuts as part of a Government initiative in the wake of Covid-19.

The initiative comes after independent butchers were not allowed to open fully for retail customers under Alert Levels 4 and 3 restrictions.

Those restrictions meant there was a surplus of up to 5000 pigs on New Zealand farms every week and a looming animal welfare issue.

The Government stepped to buy the meat and national food rescue network KiwiHarvest delivered it.

Uruuruwhenua Health, which focuses on Maori health, received its first delivery of pork two weeks ago.

Mauri ora/whanau ora navigator Grace Gibbons said people from all walks of life had benefited so far, including those recommended by various social service agencies.

Recipients did not have to be on Uruuruwhenua Health’s books and the meat was distributed to anyone, she said.

"There’s been a lot of ‘wow, we haven’t been able to afford pork in years’.

"It’s, literally, something for nothing — a koha, a gift — something to share with their whanau."

NZ Pork chief executive David Baines said the concept was a "win-win".

"Quality nutritious food will be provided to people who are in desperate need and surplus pork moved off-farm and through the supply chain.

"It will also deliver much-needed cash to pork wholesalers who are under severe cash-flow and profitability pressure."

KiwiHarvest founder Deborah Manning said the initiative could not have come at a better time.

"We’ve seen a sharp and sustained increase in demand for our services since the lockdown began at the end of March, as levels of financial hardship have continued to rise."


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