Happy birthday to us! Crazy to think that our little Collective has been trucking along for three years now. Street food in Auckland has changed and grown so much in that time and it’s pretty cool to feel like we’ve been a part of that.
The Auckland Food Truck Collective was started by two food truckers themselves — Tim from Double Dutch Fries and Maggie from RAWE, an Organic Smoothie truck. Having lived the street food life, they are more than familiar with its ups and downs, pros and cons and risk and reward. One of the main issues facing street food vendors is the seasonal nature of the job. Summer is crazy busy with markets, festivals, weddings and more while things tend to die off completely in Winter. Tim and Maggie decided to try their hand at organising street food focused events that ran year round to provide them and their street food family with more opportunities to trade.
September 2019 marks three years since it all began in Kingsland. Things kicked off with a series of events called Urban Street Fest—a little different to the events people were used to trading at as it was solely based around food, rather than vendors just being a food option at a sports match or concert. People were coming specifically to eat, and eat they did! One of Maggie’s favourite moments over the whole journey is still that very first night in Kingsland where they had no expectations but high hopes and people came in droves to support Auckland’s burgeoning street food scene. Urban Street Fest is really how the Collective began, as events continued to be held all over Auckland, including Ponsonby, Henderson, Orakei and Milford. As the events became increasingly successful and more vendors wished to be involved, Tim and Maggie decided it was time to create a formalised, structured system and the Auckland Food Truck Collective was born.
Tim cites the first Orakei Urban Street Fest as a standout moment. Tucked away in the carpark under Orakei Bay Village, ten or so food trucks parked up and hoped like hell people would be able to find them. These worries were in vain as within minutes the place was heaving and it was absolutely impossible to tell where one queue ended and another began. Tim had to leave his truck in the hands of his crew and direct traffic as the sheer volume of people trying to get in was causing some serious chaos. Two and a half years later, Tim and Maggie organised a much larger scale night market in the main carpark with similar results—an epic turnout and a sell-out night for many vendors.
The events side of the Auckland Food Truck Collective has grown and flourished over the three years of its existence. It’s hard to believe that in such a short time, things have gone from five food trucks parked in a warehouse in the suburbs to a sold out food festival in Shed 10. The winning combination of good food, good music and good vibes (not to mention a bar from time to time!) has helped AFTC grow from strength to strength. It hasn’t always been easy and lots of lessons have been learned along the way, but the feeling of seeing events like the Vegan Food Festival, the Fried Chicken Festival or the Te Atatu Night Markets in full swing makes it all worth it.
However, AFTC isn’t just about providing Auckland’s street food vendors with events to trade at, it’s also about providing them with a community. It has helped food truck owners come together and create a support system to share tips, tricks and encouragement with one another. To further foster this community feel and give those outside the industry a glimpse into what food truck life is really like, last year AFTC hosted its first street food seminar where a number of vendors described their experiences and answered questions from existing and prospective members of the industry. This was another highlight for Tim and something the Collective is definitely hoping to do again in the future.
Over the three years AFTC has built up some pretty exciting relationships with organisations including Auckland Council, Westpac NZ, Britomart, La Cigale and MOTAT. We have so much planned over the next few months and we can’t wait to see what the future holds. Our Collective is made up of passionate, hard-working, quality street food vendors and we couldn’t be prouder of our foodie family. There’s a few gaps for real deal Greek, Turkish, Indian and Mediterranean vendors so help us out on our hunt and let us know if you know of any! We’re always open to suggestions so if you have a cracker of an idea for a street food fest, email us or slide into our DM’s on social media.
Thank you foodies for your continued support over the past three years, here’s to many more!!
Check our Facebook Events page to see where we are next..