Celebrities donate Marmite jars

03:40, Nov 22 2012
MORE PLEASE: Sanitarium has hinted at good news for Marmite fans.

A Christchurch charity is using the Marmite shortage to its advantage.

The Rebuild Christchurch Foundation is auctioning photographs of empty Marmite jars donated by New Zealand celebrities including Rachel Hunter, Sir Graham Henry and Trelise Cooper.

See the photos here.

Rachel Hunter
AUCTIONED: Rachel Hunter is one of many celebrities involved in the auction.

Kiwi photographer Chris Sisarich is collaborating with celebrities and the foundation to capture images of 19 empty Marmite jars for a charity auction.

"The imagery inside each jar is extremely distinctive, it's more than just an empty Marmite jar," he said.

"It's evident that everyone has been scraping at the bottom to get every last bit out - I know I have - and I hope that other Kiwis are taking a moment to reflect on the difficulties of the past two years for Christchurch as they reach the bottom of their jars," Sisarich said.


"It fascinates me that something like Marmite, which is part of the daily routine for many Kiwis has been elevated to the realm of artwork since the shortage. It shows just how iconic Marmite is in New Zealand.

One original photograph of each celebrity's Marmite jar will be framed with a signed lid, and will be auctioned on www.abeautifulstruggle.co.nz from November 30 to December 9. 

All proceeds will go to the Rebuild Christchurch Foundation.

Deon Swiggs, of the Rebuild Christchurch Foundation, said the initiative came as many people in Christchurch were continuing to struggle following the earthquakes and could not provide a Christmas celebration for their family.

"We will be working with social agencies to help families who need assistance but normally wouldn't ask for it. Last Christmas we helped 76 families and this year we hope to support over 300," Swiggs said.

Marmite-maker Sanitarium does not know when production of Marmite will resume. Its Harewood factory was quake-damaged and production stopped in March.

Sanitarium initially said production would restart mid-year and later that it would resume in October or November, however general manager Pierre van Heerden told The Press this was no longer viable.

"While we are approaching the time period when we will be able to recommence bulk stock production. The journey thus far has taught us that being in a position to commence production again is far more complicated and time consuming than anyone could have anticipated," he said.

"As soon as we are confident around a relaunch date, we will be happy to share that with you."

Good progress was being made in the rebuilding and restoration of the Christchurch Marmite factory, he said. 

Sanitarium had booked for the city council to do a development application inspection and sign-off on the building by the end of this month. 

"This will be a major milestone as the building will then be safe and ready to use," van Heerden said. 

"Once we have sign-off we will be able to run water through the production pipes to check the seals and pipes to check the functionality of each part of the plant.  If all goes well, we can then start making bulk stock."

The Press