Blue Zones and purple carrots inspire this Kaibosh volunteer


Dec 23


We’re sharing stories about some of the amazing people who contribute to our collective mahi – the Humans of Kaibosh.

Volunteering inspired by Blue Zones and purple carrots

– by Louise Hammersley

Andy says he volunteers at Kaibosh tokeep out of trouble. But, behind the smile and banter is a drive to give back and connect with community, inspired by people who live in ‘Blue Zones’… Read on to be inspired yourself.

Name: Andy Haddleton 

Role/roles at Kaibosh and years of service: Volunteer operations support & food sorting, around 6 and a half years 

Most interesting food seen come through: Purple carrots from the supermarket 

What he’s doing when not at Kaibosh: works part time in digital marketing, loves live music, takes a holiday to attend as many gigs as possible at the Wellington jazz Festival, committee member and MC for Capital Blues Inc and volunteers for events such as Cuba Dupa. 



Andy volunteers for Kaibosh in Wellington, coming in to the Pōneke hub twice a week.  

On Monday mornings he tidies the place, performing 3-D Tetris to match lids and bases of banana boxes, and cleans up, as operations support. 

“The banana boxes are a complete mess, all over the place and the floors are a bit grubby and sticky after the weekend market rescues. They get even stickier during summer fruit season,” but he says, he’s more than happy to take care of it. 

Then, on Tuesdays he joins in with the lunchtime volunteer food sort team.  

“For the food sort, we’ve got a fairly regular crew on Tuesdays, for a good natter and a good yarn.”

Andy likes volunteering at Kaibosh, because it’s a way to connect with other people. He’s self-employed and works from home and now in a shared office space. He tells me that when he first came into Kaibosh on a Monday morning one of the team asked him how his weekend had been – “that was the first time in 20 years someone had asked me that.”

Andy is semi-retired and works part time to fund his live music passion, but volunteers to “keep out of trouble.” He says he enjoys the company at Kaibosh. There is a shared commonality of beliefs, interests and values. He describes Kaibosh as “a hub for all kinds of different people,” saying those who come in recognise him and come and say hi, which is a nice social connection for him. 

The Monday morning shift has meant he gets to meet some of the different charity groups who receive Kaibosh food, as they come in to collect it. Andy says, that’s shown him the importance of what Kaibosh does for the community and the reach of the impact.

“The cost efficiency is just unbelievable. The cost to get a meal to people, it’s astonishing.”

Andy says, the impact for the community is great. But he adds that the main reason he continues to volunteer at Kaibosh is because of what he gets out of it for himself.  

“I first started with Kaibosh because I was looking for an environmental thing, but I’ve now realised the social justice issue as well. They’re both really important to me.”

Andy is interested in the wellbeing benefits of volunteering. He’s fascinated by the concept of ‘Blue Zones’ – areas of the world such as Okinawa, Japan or Sardinia, Italy where the populations are the healthiest and live the longest. Researchers have identified the main reasons for this, which include healthy eating, community involvement and volunteering. Andy points out that Kaibosh encompasses all of these things – ‘I’m going to live to 100 now!’ he jokes. 

And, as for those purple carrots mentioned earlier? Andy’s been learning about the benefits of eating vibrantly coloured produce.  

“There’re lots of antioxidants in them and lots of other things as well, but purple stuff is great. People say eat your greens, but actually – eat purples! In fact, eat a rainbow.” 

In 2020, Andy was part of the tight knit team of staff & volunteers who kept rescuing, sorting and distributing food through the Covid Pandemic lockdowns in 2020. He says, this was an interesting time as they had to work within the Government restrictions. For food sorting, they had two crews working and alternating so there was no risk of cross contamination. If one person from a team got ill, they were all stood down and the other team would take over. 

Andy recalls the massive volumes of food that came in during the pandemic – “Right down to the garage door was just filled with trolleys waiting to be emptied.” But, while it was extremely busy at that time, he really enjoyed it. “It kept me busy, doing something good during the lockdown while everyone else was stuck at home.”

Looking forward, Andy says he is excited to see where Kaibosh goes in the future. He wants to continue to be part of the success, and to help ‘grow and support Kaibosh’. 

“When I first started was about 7 years ago, there were 25 tonnes a month and now it’s about 60 to 70 tonnes every month!”

But ultimately, for Andy, the reason he volunteers is “for the people, the people, the people.”