Buddhist baker dumps pies
An Auckland bakery owner has admitted to dumping large amounts of leftover food in a public park because of her religious beliefs.
Sokhun Sauv, the manager of Breadwinner Bakery in St Heliers, says her staff have been taking surplus food home and feeding it to birds at an Epsom reserve, 10km from her business.
Epsom resident Julian Hague first stumbled across large quantities of bakery food being dumped at Marivare Reserve a few months ago.
The small reserve sits on the corner of Ranfurly Rd and Manukau Rd, near Cornwall Park.
It has been happening most weekday afternoons since, he says.
Hague says he saw a woman tipping a fish bin filled with sandwich rolls, pies, slices and cabbage leaves onto the grass.
She told him she was feeding the pigeons.
Hague, a lawyer, says some of the food was still packaged in plastic.
‘‘The pigeons can’t get into the plastic,’’ Hague says.
‘‘It must be attracting rats because you would come by the next morning and the food is gone.’’
When he investigated the mess, he found a merchant invoice from the St Heliers bakery which he took to Auckland Council.
Anyone caught illegally dumping litter can be fined up to $400 by Auckland Council or about $30,000 if successfully prosecuted.
Sauv says her Buddhist beliefs means she should not throw away leftover, edible food.
For the past 14 years, Sauv has been donating leftover food to a local school and feeding the birds with what is left.
‘‘Everything a bird can eat, we will feed them,’’ Sauv says.
‘‘If we throw the food in the rubbish we get punishment from God.’’
Sauv says an Auckland Council representative visited her shop on Wednesday morning and told her to stop dumping the food in the park.
‘‘I’m not going to do it again,’’ Sauv says.
Auckland Council’s waste solutions manager Ian Stupple says the council is investigating the dumping.
There is no rates-funded commercial waste collection service for businesses in Auckland.
Epsom resident Julian Hague contacted Auckland Council after stumbling across a ‘‘disgusting mess’’ of bakery left overs on a regular basis. Inset: The dumped food attracts flocks of pigeons.