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New Zealand’s Biggest Christmas Dinner


December 20, 2007

New Zealand’s Biggest Christmas Dinner

Auckland City Mission staff and volunteers are flat out making sure everything is ready for New Zealand’s Biggest Christmas Dinner in the Auckland Town Hall on Christmas Day.

The Mission’s Christmas Dinner has become an iconic event in Auckland, symbolising giving, caring and community.

Around 1500 people will sit down together to enjoy a traditional dinner of turkey with tarragon and cranberry gravy, ham with pineapple and mustard glaze, roast vegetables and steamed green beans, followed by a dessert of trifle and fruit salad. The Dinner finishes with each guest receiving a Christmas present from Santa and a slice of Christmas cake.

“This is a very special event, bringing together Aucklanders who cannot afford Christmas Dinner, those who would otherwise spend the day alone, and new migrants who may be celebrating Christmas for the first time,” says Auckland City Missioner Diane Robertson. “Everyone has a great time, whether they’re guests or volunteers.”

It’s a mammoth task preparing for the Christmas Dinner. The 200 kgs of ham, 200 kgs of turkey, 250 kgs of potatoes, 220 kgs of kumara, 100kg of green beans and 50 kgs of carrots have long since been ordered. These will all be delivered to the Edge kitchen for preparation and cooking on Monday. Donated sweets, soft drinks and Christmas cakes have been collected and presents wrapped, ready for the big day.

Top chef Philip Reynolds has volunteered his services to cook Christmas Dinner this year. Currently the executive chef for Fonterra Brands in Auckland, he returned to New Zealand in 2002 after 12 years cooking in restaurants in London and in continental Europe.

Around 400 volunteers are involved in the Christmas Dinner, assisting with everything from cooking and serving food to guests (and cleaning up afterwards), decorating the Town Hall and providing entertainment. The ‘Christmas Quartet’ jazz band, Joe McDermott and “X-Factor” and Melodie Breuer will entertain guests before and during dinner, along with several clowns.

It would be impossible for the Mission to host Christmas Dinner without the support of all the volunteers, says Diane Robertson.

For more information please contact: Alexis Sawyers: 3039780 (mob 021 1205989); Penelope Carroll: 3039264 (mob 0274 316867); or Mathieu Holt: 3039265.


Monday 24th 8am –3pm and 4pm – 7pm

Names 1st Shift - Edge Kitchen Chef + 7 Volunteers
2nd Shift - Hospital Kitchen Chef + 5

Shift 1
 Rolling the ham and chicken (if needed, last year it went out just sliced)
 steaming of potatoes and kumara & chilling of such
 other duties as required
 washing of dishes
 cutting of Christmas cake
Shift 2
 make jelly for trifles
 make custard for trifles
 creaming of trifles
 Load up trifles in Refrigerator truck / truck to take to Edge Kitchen

Christmas Day 6.30am -12noon

Chef + 7 Volunteers

 Making gravy
 cooking of beans and carrots
 heating of meat
 roasting of potatoes and kumara
 assembling of the entire dinner into the designated dishes and labelling
 removal of food into hotboxes
 washing of dishes and final clean up


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