The Saucey Kiwis have a simple philosophy – “If you have a mouth, we’ll feed it.” But with a passion for hauora and a belief that kai is medicine, they won’t be dishing up anything that isn’t healthy and nourishing.
Jordan Duggan (African-American) and Ngaio Haraki (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Awa), have been together for eleven years and throughout that time, their interest in plant-based vegan foods has grown. They’ve travelled extensively and it was while they were living in Miami that they were inspired by the well-established food truck culture; and when they returned to New Zealand in 2020, they were keen to make their own mark on the vegan food scene.
“We tasted a lot of very creative food while we were away and we wanted to show people here in Christchurch that eating vegan food doesn’t mean you have to miss out delicious, familiar flavours,” says Jordan.
“When we returned to New Zealand in 2020, we found a lot of people were re-evaluating their health and lifestyes in the wake of the Covid pandemic,” says Ngaio.
“People were looking for different, more healthy and sustainable ways of sourcing their food and we wanted to show how easy it is to move into vegan food.”
They established TSK Conscious Eatery in mid-2022 and were trading with their new food truck, as The Saucey Kiwis, by October 2022. Highlighting food inspired by their travels, they’ve taken a cross-cultural approach, offering everything from Mexican, American, Japanese and Italian inspirations to Māori hāngī.
But it doesn’t stop at vegan food. The pair are keen to create a full experience. It may revolve around delicious, plant-based kai but it’s also about creating a sense of community and establishing The Saucey Kiwis food truck as a destination in itself.
“We want to find a permanent spot and establish a place for kōrero and music. We’re keen to plant the seeds of veganism of course but we also want to go beyond that and we’re excited about the possibilities ahead,” says Jordan.
And thanks to WAVE funding, they’re now seeing their dreams becoming a reality.
“Who knows where we would be without that injection of confidence and financial assistance,” he says.
“Not only did the creation of our business plan help us clarify our ideas, but funding has enabled us to purchase and fit-out our food truck. We’ve also learned an enormous amount about building business networks through regular meetings with our Te Pūtahitanga business advisers. There’s always someone to go to and that’s helped us immensely.”
Since they began operating, Jordan and Ngaio have seen a huge growth in interest in vegan kai. They have a regular spot at the Mt Pleasant Food Truck Alley on Sunday evenings and their growing popularity has seen them providing kai at the Christchurch Hip Hop Summit, the Vegan Night Mākete, and the Long Run event with the Crusaders, to raise funds for the Child Cancer Foundation.
“And that’s just the beginning,” says Ngaio.
“We’re starting up a podcast series looking at other entrepreneurs. We’re interested in creating a charity of some sort that will donate to causes we think are important; and as a yoga instructor, I’m also keen to develop a mind, body and soul programme that works alongside our food truck.
“We ultimately see The Saucey Kiwis as the umbrella business that enables us to contribute to the community in a much broader and exciting way.”