Community container hub breaks fertile ground

Kai Ika


Community container hub breaks fertile ground

  • Fish filleting container evolves to produce organic fish fertiliser
  • Council funding to develop product and expand waste utilisation initiatives
  • Container continues to help meet community need

Fish, food, and fertiliser

A fish filleting container created by Royal Wolf for a local Auckland marae is now the centre of a research and development project producing organic fertiliser made from fish gills and offal.

Located at Papatnuku Kkiri Marae in Mangere, the modified 20-foot container is used by the Kai Ika Project which provide tasty fish heads and off cuts, that would normally go to waste, to the local community.

As well as continuing to help feed families and those in need, the container is a hub for the fertiliser project which is a key part of Kai Ika’s waste utilisation Kaupapa (focus).

Dallas Abel, Kai Ika Project Co-ordinator, says they aim to utilise as much of the fish as possible with around 90% human consumption.

“Historically the remaining 10%, which is made up of inedible fish parts like gills and guts, was buried. So rather than continuing to dig holes and bury fish offal, we decided to create a high-quality fertiliser product for the marae gardens but also has potential to generate revenue that can be reinvested back into Kai Ika.”

Funding to develop and grow  

The organic fertiliser project has received funding from the Auckland Council Waste Minimisation Fund. The grant is being used to develop the product further, including conducting testing to help refine the recipe before it is trialled on the marae gardens.

“Since Kai Ika first started, we have recovered and shared more than 160,000kg of fish parts that would otherwise go to waste,” says Abel.

“Continuing to develop Kai Ika, and introducing new waste utilisation initiatives like organic fertiliser, is key and the Royal Wolf container acts as a workshop where all this can happen.

“It’s where we mince up inedible fish parts and carry out the whole process. Without the container we would be exposed to the elements and creating this fertiliser would be extremely difficult.” 

Continuing to meet community need

Royal Wolf first partnered with Kai Ika and Papatuanuku Kokiri Marae in 2020 to help provide a containerised solution where kaimoana (fish) could be processed and distributed to the community.  

The container enabled the project to up production from 250kg a week to 1,000kg. Through continued streamlining of processes, the container now helps Kai Ika and the marae team to produce 1,500kg of fish each week to support the local community.

“We have over 200 families in our database who receive regular updates on when fish is available. We estimate that there are many more families who utilise our service and they share it with their wider whanau (family).”

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