Create a community pantry

Pātaka kai are free community pantries where you can take what food you need or share what you have. Find out more about them, and what you need to know if you’re thinking about starting one in your neighbourhood.

Community shelves in a park filled with fruit and tinned food.

Connect your neighbours through sharing food

Pātaka kai are open street pantries that connect neighbourhoods through sharing food. They are typically available 24-7.

They don’t have to be big. Even a small letterbox-sized pātaka kai can give people a place to pick up food or leave what they can – surplus garden produce, for example.

Pātaka kai can also become places for neighbours to meet and get to know each other.

How to start a pātaka kai

First, contact Council or the Manawatū Food Action Network to talk about what you want to do and where you’re thinking of locating your pātaka kai.

We recommend you host it where you can easily look after it

Depending on where you’re going to put your pātaka kai, you might need Council approval to install it:

  • If you want to install it on a berm or footpath, you'll need an agreement with us.
  • If your pātaka kai is on your own property, you don’t need an agreement with us.

Note, utility operators need to be able to access cables, pipes and other infrastructure. If they have to remove a pantry, they don’t have to reinstall it.  

For suburb-level food rescue operations larger than a community shelf, there may be District Plan requirements. Check with our community development team.

You are responsible for maintaining your pātaka kai

Maintaining the pātaka kai and removing any waste is the host's responsibility.

It’s important to have clear signs specifying what kind of donations you do and don’t want.

Make sure you follow the Ministry for Primary Industries’ advice on donated food.

Council will remove large amounts of illegally-dumped rubbish.  

Food action resources to support your project

Tips for making produce sharing tables effective

Register your pātaka kai online  

About the Manawatū Food Action Network