The Legend of the Manukau Big Soup

Mark Beale

2 September 2008

The Legend of the Manukau Big Soup

After nearly 5 months of planning and organizing, Rev. Mark Beale, vicar of St. Elizabeth’s Anglican Church in Clendon and co-organiser and world record breaking enthusiast Alastair Galpin finally saw it happen. On 23 August the world’s biggest soup (around 25,000 litres) was pumped from the vat at Lion Nathan in which it had been cooked into milk tankers, which then trucked the soup to thousands of hungry school kids and others in Clendon, Otara and the Telstra Clear Stadium in Manukau. Confirmation of the record by the Guinness Book of Records is expected in December. 

2- litre ice cream containers supplied by Tip-Top with “Manukau Big Soup” on the lid were filled with soup and went to retirement and resthomes, to the Auckland Women's Prison on Roscommon Rd and to people on the street. 

Everyone who received soup also received a printed copy of the following ‘Legend of the Manukau Big Soup’:

A man looked around the great city of Manukau. As he looked in the newspapers he read bigsoupheader.jpgabout stories of depression. He noticed that the people of this great city had an air of gloom about them as their heads were bowed and spoke about fear and a lack of safety. Some even marched as they were drawn into the negative spirit of fear. As he looked over the fair city seeing its beautiful rolling hills and tranquil beaches he could not help but wonder why people could be so downcast.

While pondering this lofty thought an excitable man approached him and said 'I am going to make the world's largest bowl of soup and I have no one to eat it.' Suddenly as if struck by lightning, the man was given a vision; why not make a magic soup that will lighten the hearts of the people of this great city?

But who would have a bowl big enough to make such a soup? The people of Lion Nathan said, 'we have such a bowl and instead of salubrity hops we will make a healthy vegetable soup that will cleanse the body and so lighten the soul.'

'Who has such vegetables', he asked, as excitement started to bubble within. The Pukekohe Vegetable Growers Association leapt up and claimed, 'we have such vegetables growing in our protein rich soil.' and generously gave 5,000kg of potatoes and 1,200kg of onions.

As the man looked at this mountain of vegetables he said, 'How will we clean and cut such a great number of vegetables?' 'I can clean them,' said Cuisine Resources. 'And we can cut them,' said Ecopac.

As the man looked across the city he noticed that some of the bowed heads looked up in curiosity to see what was happening. He called out, 'we need to get all these wonderful healthy vegetables to the giant bowl.' 'I can do that' said Hall's Refrigerated Transport.

manukaubigsoup1.jpgThe recipe began to take shape but needed something special to give it the spice of life, and so the man asked, 'who could get the mixture right?' And up jumped Gerald a chef of merit with a flare of taste and said, 'I can mix such a soup.' But where could he find the right herbs and spices, and then to the party came Profile Products who said, 'our Vegetable stock powder tickles the taste buds we will give you 333kg to put in the magic soup.'

Gerald stirred with his great chef's spoon and he said, 'it needs something more, it needs salt,' Dominion Salt catching the vision said, 'we will give you 125kg of our finest salt.' The soup now began to sizzle with flavour, but the magic was still not there. 'Why not use our special spices,' said G.S.Hall, 'we will give you 25kg of curry powder, 25kg of turmeric and 25kg of paprika as these will surely bring joy and warmth to the heart.' The soup was almost right as 50kg of tomato paste was added.

manukaubigsoup4.jpgWith the soup boiling its magic love in the great bowl of Lion Nathan, the city began to glow in expectation. The man looked at the great bowl and while wondering as to how to get it to the people to cheer their hearts. Calvin of L. W. Bonny and Sons proudly said, 'we have the finest of trucks to carry such a wonderful soup.' Thinking out loud the man was heard to say, 'how can we get it from the truck to feed so many mouths before it gets cold' and the thinkers began to think as the put their heads together. Hearing of the mans plight Tyco gave special valves and Fonterra skillfully shaped them that they may give out the soup with out losing its magic heat.

The people needed to gather to get their soup because the magic of the soup was at its greatest when people shared. manukaubigsoup2.jpgAs the man looked over the city he noticed that the Manukau City Council had created many gathering places where the power of the soup would be at its greatest. As he visited these places he was welcomed with great warmth and so he knew in his heart of hearts that the people would love the soup. A date was set a time was made and the soup was poured from the great vat of Lion Nathan into the finest of tanker trucks to be delivered to the wonderful communities of Otara, Clendon and the great cathedral of the Telstraclear Pacific Events Centre.

The soup needed to be put into cups so that people could drink its healthy magic but alas there were no cups and then as if out of the heavens Air New Zealand gave 7,000 cups that could hold the magic soup. Quickly Fastway with Signum, Tip Top and Clendon New World delivered and gave containers so that people could take the healthy brew to their homes where they could heat it to a bubbly heat and share it with neighbours and friends thus allowing the magic to spread.

manukaubigsoup3.jpgThe people of Bluebird having been captured by the magic of the soup also wanted to give something and so they helped feed the people with the health giving fruit of 7,000 fruit wraps. PicQuick Print Design designed and made invites so all would know about the big soup. The Fire Department, Police, Rotary, and many community minded people gave of their talents and time to enable the magic of the soup to be at its best.

As the people shared in the drinking of the Big Manukau Soup their hearts were cheered and their spirits were refreshed. With their heads held high they forgot about fear and crime and began to laugh and talk about what a wonderful life they had in the great city of Manukau.

As the man watched the people enjoying the Big Manukau Soup his thoughts drifted to the words in the good book:

"I want you to be happy, always happy in the Lord; I repeat what I want is your happiness. Let your tolerance be evident to everyone: the Lord is very near. There is no need to worry; but if there is anything you need pray for it…. Finally dear friends fill your minds with everything that is true, everything that is noble, everything that is good and pure, everything that we love and honour, and everything that could be thought virtuous or worthy of praise."
The Bible, Philippians 4 4-9

To read more about Mark Beale and St. Elizabeth's Anglican Church's remarkable story, click here.

The Manukau Big Soup Magic Recipe


18,167L Water
333kg Vegetable stock powder
5,000kg Peeled and chopped potatoes
1,200kg Peeled and chopped onions
125kg Salt
25kg Curry powder
25kg Turmeric
25kg Paprika
60kg Tomato paste


1.   Pump 18,167 ltrs of water into tank
2.   Heat to at least 65 degrees Celsius
3.   Agitate slowly
4.   Drop 333kg of stock and stir until dissolved
5.   Drop salt, curry, turmeric, paprika stir to dissolve
6.   Put in chopped veggies, pour in tomato paste stir to disperse
7.   Allow to cook for several hours, stir briefly every 20 minutes
8.   Near end of cooking stir quickly
9.   Serve hot