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Introducing Whare Kai Pop-Up Store

Student and public access to fresh fruit and veggies during exams

In a first-of-its-kind, a pop-up store is offering University of Auckland students easy access to fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables during exams. The store will be set up in a handy location just across the street from the University in Albert Park. This initiative has been made possible through Auckland Council’s The Kitchen Project, now operating from Whare Kai at the Caretakers Cottage, and its first partnership with Perfectly


The pop-up store is in response to student feedback and a recent University of Auckland PhD study* found that half the students on campus were struggling with food security and hunger and that

3 out of every 4 students were skipping fruit and vegetables due to lack of access and pressures on the cost of living .

During October, students can head to the pop-up store and choose between two value-packed and generous-sized mystery boxes: standard size for $15 or large for $26 and pick and mix from the produce on offer at the store. Students are encouraged to bring their own carry bags. Parents can also pre-order boxes online, which students can collect from the store.

The pop-up store will operate from 1.00 to 4.00 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, commencing 17 October and concluding 26 October 2023 and will also be open to the public.

Please share and order a box of good food for people you love.

Social enterprise and non-profit Perfectly Imperfect will provide seasonal produce to the pop-up store run with the support of volunteers which students can themselves be involved with. Connecting students to affordable produce that farms would otherwise waste, Perfectly Imperfect arranges the redistribution of fresh food that wasn’t deemed up to scratch for the supermarkets, such as kumaras that are a wonky shape or avocados that are too small but still tasty and perfectly good for eating. It also avoids tonnes of food going to landfills and builds a fair trade market for local growers.

The pop-up store is the result of discussions with food insecurity researcher Dr Anthonia Uzoigwe from the University of Auckland, whose research on student food security inspired The Kitchen Project to find a solution and partner with Perfectly Imperfect to create this innovative pop-up store. The University of Auckland is the country’s largest University with over 46,000 students and will communicate the Pop-Up Store through its own channels. This forms part of its wellbeing initiatives, activities and projects through its Oranga Tauira (Student Wellbeing) Strategy which focuses on harm reduction and removing barriers to positive health outcomes and includes program management, stakeholder engagement, training and capacity building, and student engagement.

Whare Kai, located at the heritage Caretaker’s Cottage in the corner of Albert Park, is a newly established community hub in the central city created by Auckland Council’s programme The Kitchen Project. Whare Kai contributes to the Central City Hub’s kai mahi and delivers a community wealth-building and social enterprise service that provides for 4 of the 5 action areas of Auckland Council’s food priorities, these are: support sustainable food production; reduce food waste; increase supply and demand for local seasonal and low-carbon food; alignment to Te Puawaitanga o te Tatai especially embodying values of

manaakitanga, kaitakitanga, whanaungatanga, rangatiratanga, mātauranga, ōritetanga and tōnuitanga.

The Kitchen Project and Perfectly Imperfect plan to expand the store concept alongside

other initiatives that will teach students cooking in 2024.


1 Lack amidst plenty. Understanding food insecurity prevalence among university students in Auckland New Zealand.

2 People inquiry into student wellbeing (New Zealand Union Student Association et al.,


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