Delwyn Tuanui is a seventh generation Chatham Islander. Coming from a long line of island farmers and fishermen, Del set up the Food Co. in 2011 as he wanted to share the island’s great food with the rest of the world, today and tomorrow.
That dot about 800km east of Christchurch in the middle of the Southern Ocean is the Chatham Islands – 11 in total. Every morning its the first place in the world to see the sun, so the Islands are literally on the edge of the Earth.
Life isn’t easy on the Chathams. The winds are harsh and the land is wild and raw , they are at the mercy of the elements all year round. The waters around the islands are rough, but in amongst them are warm currents coming from the west out of the Indian Ocean, mixing with icy cold waters coming from the Southern Ocean. This combination creates a nutrient and carbon rich environment and combined with bitter cold waters gives our seafood intense flavor.
Fishing has always been a huge part of life on the Chatham Islands. Braving huge swells and freezing cold squalls, island fishermen head out early every morning and return to shore later on with their fresh hauls. It’s hard work, but worth it. There’s nothing like seafood fresh off the boat – everyone on the island loves it.
This freshness is really important to us at Chatham Island Food Co. Our integrated supply chain means that we can have fresh fish on our customers plate in under 40 hours of being harvested from the ocean.
Every catch is logged on the boat, which means we are able to tell our customers not only what time the fish was caught but also where in our waters and by whom. It’s efficient and sustainable. We want others to enjoy our delicious bounty today, but we also want our lands and ocean to provide for our children tomorrow.
Of course, none of this would be possible without the dedicated men and women here on the island who catch, pack and deliver our produce. Our fisherman receive bonuses above market price, so long as their catch has been caught to the strict quality assurance guidelines developed by both Chatham Island food co. and local fishermen. This ensures our product is consistently of the highest standard and local fisherman are rewarded for the effort they put in to ensure the best possible eating experience.
At Chatham Island Food Co. we pride ourselves on bringing you a fresh “Chatham Island eating experience”, so next time you are looking for produce like nowhere else on Earth, look for food from the edge.