Georgie Pie petition arrives in Palmerston North

PIE MAN: Whakatane man Grant Duffield, 29, stands outside The Plaza with his Georgie Pie sign and petition in tow.
Chris Hyde/Fairfax NZ
PIE MAN: Whakatane man Grant Duffield, 29, stands outside The Plaza with his Georgie Pie sign and petition in tow.

A man with a severe case of pie nostalgia is battling a lack of funds and the Palmerston North wind as he campaigns to revive Georgie Pie in New Zealand.

Whakatane man Grant Duffield, 29, is spending most of today outside The Plaza with his trusty sign and petition in tow.

He is collecting signatures to try to persuade McDonald's, which now owns the trademark, to bring back the fast-food company.

"I went to Georgie Pie as a kid and no pie out there comes close.

"I'd like them to bring them back exactly as they were."

Duffield has been on the campaign trail for over four months now and has 12,500 signatures so far.

He works four days on, four days off, at Pak 'N Save Whakatane and goes on the road on his days off, visiting a different North Island town each week.

It is a journey that has seen him chew up over 7000kms worth of petrol so far.

A lack of funds is an issue, but he saves money by couch-surfing at each stop along the way.

"I feel it's worth it. No-one is paying me or sponsoring me and it is not easy but McDonald's know what I'm doing and they appreciate it.

"I'm just going to keep going with it, keep trying and see what happens.

"If they don't bring it back, so what, at least I'm giving it a go."

He collected 170 signatures yesterday but his visit to Palmerston North has not been all smiles so far.

"The Palmy wind is pretty strong, probably the strongest I've experienced so far.

"It makes it really difficult to hold the sign because if I lose balance I'm off down the road."

Georgie Pie began in Auckland in 1977.  At its peak there were 30 outlets around New Zealand and 1300 people lost their jobs when it closed in 1998. 

In April this year, the then-newly appointed boss of McDonald's New Zealand, Patrick Wilson, said the company had looked into re-opening the chain.

Duffield does not think a Georgie Pie store in Palmerston North would be fast-food overkill.

"There is always going to be new fast-food stores so why not?

"This city needs more pies."

He is in the city until the weekend and he hopes he will be able to crash the Christmas parade for signatures.

Manawatu Standard