Kitchen Tips

Meet the Auckland Food Truck Collective: the brains behind Auckland’s best street food events

Tim and Maggie of the Auckland Food Truck Collective are creating a platform for food truck owners to bring their unique styles of cuisine to the streets of Auckland. But for them, it's about so much more than the food.

By Harriet Keown
Anyone who has ever been to a street food event can understand the buzz - there's just something about eating a meal made in a food truck that is unlike any other foodie experience. It's made with love, passion and hard work, and infused with the spirit of all the other food truck fanatics around you, waiting patiently for their own bite.
Motivated by their shared love of street food and their own successes and struggles of running a food truck, Tim van der Werff and Maggie Gray co-founded the Auckland Food Truck Collective to provide fellow food truck owners with opportunities to make and sell their fare to the public. We talk to Maggie about the Collective's story, what it is that makes street food so special, and how their new app will help you find your favourite food trucks whenever that craving hits.
Plus, scroll down to find Food to Love's top picks from the Auckland Food Truck Collective line-up!

Q. Can you tell us the story behind the Auckland Food Truck Collective?

The Auckland Food Truck Collective was established in early 2018 – however, the concept of it goes back a few years prior. There is a great group of entrepreneurs in Auckland, all following their dream of starting their own food business, and we have brought them together. We share ideas and experiences, and support and encourage each other during the highs and lows of running a food truck.
Tim and Maggie, who also run Double Dutch Fries and RAWE Smoothie Bar respectively, joined forces to create a night market which would run throughout winter. Winter is especially tough for food trucks due to the lack of events and colder weather. We hired a venue in Kingsland in September 2016, organised half a dozen vendors to attend and went live on Facebook.
It had a fantastic response, and we were blown away with the crowd that turned up that night, with people queuing around the block to get in. We knew then that we were on to something. Great street food and live music (supplied by [Maggie's] husband, Lee Gray) is a recipe for success.
Since then it has evolved into running a series of regular street food events all over the city: Urban Street Fest, the Te Atatu Night Markets, the Truck Stop at La Cigale, the Orakei Night Market, the Vegan Food Festival, Street Kai on Takutai and the recent Fried Chicken Festival at Shed 10 – our biggest event to date.
We have also just launched our own Auckland Food Truck Finder App, which enables foodies to track and follow their favourite food truck or find their closest street food fix.
Street Kai on Takutai

Q. How do you select the wonderful mix of food trucks in the Collective?

We welcome all street food vendors to apply! They have to be professional, have a great brand, share our vision and ethics – but most importantly, produce great food!

Q. What do you think makes street food so enticing?

The whole experience of street food dining! The crowds, atmosphere, smells and most importantly, eating with your eyes and seeing your food being made on the spot by talented chefs! The unique style of each truck and supporting a small business.

Q. What are your favourite events to put on for the public?

Our mission is not to just create events, but to create experiences and bring communities together who share a love for great food. Our favourite has to be the Te Atatu Night Market (which resumes in September), as there is always a fantastic community who attends, rain, wind or shine!

Q. How will your new Food Truck Finder app benefit Aucklanders?

It is a great platform for street food followers to find their closest food truck fix. It launched in March 2019 and we have had 2,000 downloads in the first month – however currently most events are in the weekend, so we need to find more mid-week spots for the trucks to operate. Not quite as easy as you think, but we are working hard on finding a solution.
The 2019 Fried Chicken Festival

Q. How do you encourage sustainable business practices amongst the Collective?

All Collective foodies must use compostable packaging and share our vision to reduce waste as much as possible.
We work closely with We Compost for all our events to ensure our waste is disposed of correctly. However, this is not always achievable, with customers bringing their own plastic bottles, etc.

Q. Why do you think it’s important for Kiwis to support local, artisan food businesses?

From our own experience of both running food trucks, we learnt (quickly!) that running a small business is tough, with plenty of highs and lows!
This valuable experience inspired us to form The Auckland Food Truck Collective with the mission create more platforms and events for small businesses to trade.
Therefore, we believe it is imperative for Kiwis to support local, as every dollar spent goes towards supporting a Kiwi's dream of running their own business.
Maggie and Tim, co-founders of the Auckland Food Truck Collective

Food to Love Favourite | Good Karma Coffee

Labelled as 'the little truck that comes around and goes around,' Good Karma Coffee is a food truck with a purpose: to share kindness and good intentions with everyone they come across. Oh, and their delicious fair trade organic coffee. Operating out of a picture-perfect, solar-powered van, the Good Karma Food Truck is an oasis of good energy and seriously good brews. You have to try their Nitro Cold Brew, which is infused with nitrogen gas to give you the creamiest coffee you will ever have the delight of drinking.
Good Karma Coffee

Food to Love Favourite | Wise Boys Burgers

Although everything they serve is 100% plant-based, you don't have to be vegan to appreciate the goodness of Wise Boys Burgers. In fact, their creations are some of the best burgers we've tasted; just one bite of their Smoke & Fire burger, boasting a filling of deep-fried tofu and a sauce made with Fix & Fogg's smoke and fire peanut butter, and you'll be hooked. Find them either around Auckland in their food truck, which is hand-built out of scrap metal and recycled pallets, or in their newly opened store in Grey Lynn.
Wise Boys Burgers

Food to Love Favourite | Judge Bao

If you're looking for playfully modern Chinese cuisine, Judge Bao should be your go-to, serving up light, doughy bao filled with combinations of ingredients and flavour you wouldn't think possible. Their love and respect for the cultural and historical aspect of food is evident, with each of their hand-rolled bao being a fresh take on traditional dishes from each region. Our hot pick is the Sloppy Po Bao, Judge Bao's spin on the Sichuan dish, Mapo Tofu, which is chock-full of Sichuan fried tofu, mushroom mapo sauce and chilli aioli. Total flavour explosion.
Judge Bao