News | 22 February 2023
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Food for thought with Council’s new Action Plan

Wellington City Council has formalised Te Anamata ā-Kai o Tō Tātou Tāone | Our City’s Food Future, an Action Plan for a sustainable, equitable, healthy, and resilient food system in Pōneke. 

Hands planting in garden.

From farm to fork and back again, the plan is designed for every part of the food system to be resilient for generations to come. This includes how to approach the growing, processing, transporting, distributing, and consumption of food, and the disposal of food waste.   


The Action Plan is part of Te Atakura First to Zero framework and aligns with the Tūpiki Ora strategy. It is an integrated, coordinated, approach across Council to support food systems’ shifts in business-as-usual workstreams. 


Emphasised throughout is the importance of partnership on many levels – within Council, regional and central government partners, iwi, and private partners and communities – to fully activate this system shift.


Action Plan one pager (621KB PDF)


Full Action Plan (4.7MB PDF)

To create more resilient communities and systems to ensure everyone gets fed is a big commitment, and one the Council is taking seriously with its many partners, says Deputy Mayor Laurie Foon.


“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us there’s work to do to make our food system sustainable, equitable, healthy, and resilient. As our city grows, we need a plan to keep Wellingtonians fed in the face of civil and climate emergencies – and this is it. 


“The Council has committed to a variety of short, medium, and long-term actions including activating new community food spaces, supporting Māori Mahi Kai capacity and leadership, developing and implementing a city-wide composting model, and benchmarking an emergency food security response.


“Longer-term actions include protecting soil health and implementing food economy initiatives in climate-responsible business models.


“We were the first city in Aotearoa to sign the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact, an international framework for urban food systems based on the principles of sustainability and social justice – and we are honouring that commitment with this Action Plan.”


The main focus areas are: 


  • Everyone in Wellington has dignified and secure access to nutritious and culturally appropriate food.
  • We have the whanaungatanga, community resilience, and planning in place to respond effectively to emergencies.
  • Mana Whenua and Māori are activating kai and soil sovereignty in relation to the cultural landscapes.
  • Wellington’s climate-responsible food culture and system is reversing the effects of climate change.
  • We enable a lively and prosperous local food economy.


Group looking at content of bucket at Berhampore Community Garden.
Berhampore Garden open day

Deputy Mayor Foon adds while this is the first of its kind for Wellington City, and quite a milestone, it’s supported by many other initiatives and funds across the Council.


“The Para Kai organic waste kerbside collection trial in Miramar has ended and the results and feedback from that will be used to inform a city-wide solution for food waste in the future.


“We’re also proud supporters of Love Food Hate Waste, have the Waste Minimisation Seed Fund which focuses on diverting organic waste from the landfill, we’re hosting a community composting hubs trial, supporting traditional kai growing sites like Kumutoto and the Brooklyn Rongoā Garden to thrive, and we fund numerous events and campaigns like Seeds to Feeds and Local Food Week. 


“These and many more examples demonstrate our commitment to sustainable food systems aiming for a motu where no-one is hungry and everyone can eat healthily, and our environment is protected as we reduce waste – and our carbon footprint.” 



  • More than one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions caused by human activity can be attributed to the way we produce, process and package food.
  • The average Wellington household disposes of 3.2kg of food waste per week, which adds up to 30,000 tonnes of food waste going to landfill per year.
  • It is estimated that New Zealanders were spending almost $16.8 million per week, or $1.17 billion per annum in 2018 on “avoidable” food that they were wasting. 


  • The food price index in Aotearoa New Zealand has increased, impacting nutrition access with fresh fruit and vegetables becoming more expensive. Physical access is also increasingly sparse, with neighbourhoods that need it most not having affordable options in their area.
  • Pressing food insecurity issues, climate change, the housing crisis and increasing levels of non-communicable diseases within Māori communities demonstrate an urgent need to develop alternative food practices that centre Indigenous ways of knowing and doing.


  • In the case of a major earthquake, the one highway leading to Wellington and our harbour could both be rendered unusable. This shock could drastically disrupt our supply chains and therefore food access to our city.
  • According to the World Economic Forum, decreasing social cohesion is among the highest-likelihood and highest-impact, long-term risks our communities face. Connecting by sharing a meal and partaking in community-oriented food activities is one way food systems can support social cohesion in our communities.
  • Healthy & Thriving: In Aotearoa New Zealand, about 30.9% of adults above the age of 15 have obesity. This is an estimated 1.24 million adults, as well as 1 in 10 children.