REGIONAL FOOD CHAMPS
Angela Clifford introduces Eat New Zealand’s website FOR THE PAST FEW months, thanks to tourism funding from Auckland International Airport, the Eat New Zealand-Restaurant Association collective has been building its “mother ship” – an Eat New Zealand website. The aim was to bring together regional food stories in one central location and along the way we uncovered some real gems – a group of food legends spread across the country. These women and men are farmers, activists, chefs, writers, restaurateurs and retailers who have spent countless hours and untold energy telling the stories of their regional food. They include Denise Irvine in the Waikato, who says “the Hamilton Farmers Market is the place to find seasonal treats all year round”, and Zoie Bryce in NelsonTasman, who thinks the region’s bestkept secret is Mapua Wharf. “Look out for craft breweries, cheese makers and seafood in your wanderings,” she adds. Other regional champions include Alan Brown in Northland, Kathy Paterson in Auckland, Sally Cameron in Gisborne, Vicki Ravlich-Horan in the Bay of Plenty, Helen Flitcroft in Taranaki, Kristy McGregor in Manawatū-Whanganui, Jennifer Le Comte in the Hawke’s Bay, Steven Scheckter in Wellington-Wairarapa, Liz Buttimore in Marlborough, Darren Lovell in Otago and Rosie McLean in Southland. Here in Canterbury, we’re waving the flag as well. Telling regional food stories is hugely important for our tourism industry. As Mark Frood, international market development manager for Auckland Airport, points out: “Food is a lens through which our visitors can have a deeper experience and greater understanding of who we are. There are huge opportunities for them to experience our food and drink here, in the context of our regions and places, and then choose our exported products when they return home.” While we continue to build the “mother ship”, get out to your food regions this summer and show the rest of the world what they’re missing out on! Follow our progress at eatnewzealand.nz.