Shipping container doubles as filleting station and distribution hub

Shipping container serves up delicious kai moana for the community


Leading shipping container provider Royal Wolf has created a fish filleting station for a community project that collects tasty fish heads and offcuts to feed families in need.

LegaSea, a not-for-profit organisation raising awareness of issues affecting the marine environment, started the Kai Ika project in 2016 to help feed communities by re-distributing the unused parts of fish which would usually go to waste.

Royal Wolf partnered with Kai Ika to supply a specially modified 20-foot container for the project at Papat??nuku K?kiri Marae in the Auckland suburb of Mangere. The container doubles as a filleting station and main collection point for the leftover kai moana.

The marae then distributes the fish parts to families and community groups in South Auckland.

Sam Woolford, LegaSea Programme Lead, says the container is the centrepiece of Kai Ika’s operation at Papatuanuku Marae and plans are in place to roll out the initiative nationwide.

“The container is a practical solution but with the nautical history of shipping containers it also looks the part. It’s the ideal solution for what we want because its strong, easy to clean, and can withstand the elements.”

Kai Ika has been operating in Auckland in partnership with the Outboard Boating Club of Auckland on Tamaki Dr and at the Z Pier Charter Fleet at Westhaven Marina.

Woolford says the model being used at Papat??nuku K?kiri Marae is the first step in taking it to a national level where it can help feed families around the country. The Ministry for the Environment is supporting the nationwide development of the project.

Royal Wolf partnered with Kai Ika to supply a specially modified 20-foot container for the project at Papat??nuku K?kiri Marae in the Auckland suburb of Mangere

“Kai Ika is all about kaitiakitanga, or guardianship, but it’s also about manaakitanga – support and caring for others. It shows how a simple adjustment in thinking and behaviour is having a positive impact in the community and helping many families as well as the environment.

“The container is the centre point for this. It’s a gathering place where people come together to fillet and collect the fish heads, frames and offal.”

The 20-foot open side container has easy access from both the front and sides to allow efficient movement and loading of bins of fish parts. It is lined internally to create a cooler internal temperature during summer and the specialist electrical fit-out enables the inside of the unit to be washed out daily.

Paul Creighton, Royal Wolf Executive General Manager, says the company is a big supporter of community initiatives and partnering with a project like Kai Ika takes that to the next level.    

“We modify containers into many different things and the Kai Ika project is yet another inventive use of a container. But more importantly the container is the hub of a project that is helping feed local communities including many families and people who are in need. That’s something very special.

“Being able to play a part in supplying communities with healthy and nutritious food which would otherwise be going to waste is hugely rewarding.”

Woolford says only a third of a fish is consumed on average with most people only eating the fillets.

“Fish heads and the frames may be viewed as waste by many people but in te reo the head of the fish is called rangatira kai or ‘chiefly food’ and is considered a delicacy. It really is the tastiest part of the fish and the people we supply this delicious sea food to value the whole fish.”


Leading shipping container provider Royal Wolf has created a fish filleting station for a community project that collects tasty fish heads and offcuts to feed families in need.
The 1 News team did a story on the Kai Ika project which collects tasty fish heads and off cuts to help feed families in need. Royal Wolf has partnered with Kai Ika to create a shipping container solution which doubles as a filleting station and main collection point for the sea food.


He says Kai Ika has a mandate to ensure New Zealand’s fish resources are being used effectively and sustainably which means everything from reducing wastage to supporting communities in need.   

“Papat??nuku K?kiri Marae in Mangere not only distribute the heads and frames to families, but the offal is used as fertiliser in the marae gardens where kumara is also grown for distribution to the community.”

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