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About us

We're a New Zealand food movement dedicated to connecting people to our land, through our food.

Eat New Zealand is the leading cross-sector organisation committed to telling the Aotearoa Food Story. We work towards creating a platform which encourages and enables collaboration between all levels of the culinary chain and moves toward more regenerative food systems. We do this by helping build stronger, more resilient food communities, increasing our unique culinary credentials and making New Zealand the world’s premium food destination.

Eat New Zealand is a movement initiated by chefs and people in the business of food with the aim of highlighting the quality and vast array of edible resources available in New Zealand.

We believe we have unique stories to contribute to the world of food, and would like to see them unearthed and celebrated at an increased volume! One of the ways Eat New Zealand drives this change is through events such as Feast Matariki.

Feast Matariki (www.feastmatariki.nz) was created in 2019, as Aotearoa’s first and only national food celebration. Despite the challenges of a Covid Pandemic, in 2020 and 2021 we kept the pilot light on with stories from our Kaitaki (next generation storytellers), shared through our social media channels and a number of small, in-person events across the country.

We hold an annual Eat NZ hui touted as ‘the most important food conversation in New Zealand’, we help regions discover their food story and are working with sector leaders on establishing a Local Grain Economy for Aotearoa through our #EatNZGrains initiative.

Other campaigns include #KnowYourFarmer, #KnowYourFisher, #EattheWholeFish, #GrowFoodCommunities and #WildFoodLove.

Our website lists over 2500 establishments, events, festivals, farmers markets and food tourism operators. We're beginning to include producers as well. It enables people to build a food itinerary as they move around the country.

Eat New Zealand was formerly called ConversatioNZ and has grown from strength to strength since its inception in 2015. It was founded by Giulio Sturla, one of NZ's best chefs, and owner of MAPU an intimate test kitchen experience in Lyttelton.

Our mission

Eat New Zealand is a movement initiated by chefs and people in the business of food with the aim of highlighting the quality and vast array of edible resources available in New Zealand.

The movement seeks to provide a forum to encourage and enable collaboration between all levels of the culinary chain and move towards more sustainable food systems.

About Us

Food manifesto

— These are our founding principals, goals and ideas

  • 1. Culture

    To express New Zealand's history of gastronomy and the culturally diverse community

  • 2. Knowledge

    To enhance the knowledge and bring together the entire community of people from all levels of the food industry

  • 3. Biodiversity

    To highlight the quality and vast array of edible resources available in New Zealand

  • 4. Balance

    To combine gastronomic endeavours with the importance of human health and the natural environment

  • 5. Respect

    To promote animal welfare and a sound production processes in our land, fresh water, sea and wilderness

  • 6. Innovation

    To encourage research, education and innovative thinking

  • 7. Awareness

    To increase consumer awareness by promoting local, seasonal and high quality produce

  • 8. Fellowship

    To build a culture of quality and sense of fellowship in the food industry

  • 9. Future

    To empower the younger generation to build a more sustainable future

  • 10. Pride

    To advocate nationally and internationally New Zealand's unique and biodiverse food resources and food tourism

  • 11. Interconnection

    To encourage people to address global issues and be part of the global food movement

Our people

— The collective behind the movement

  • Giulio Sturla

    Giulio Sturla

    Giulio Sturla the chef-owner of Roots Restaurant was born in Chile and raised in Ecuador. His passion has been cooking and eating good food since young, he has travelled extensively and worked in many countries in world renowned restaurant Mugaritz in Spain before coming to New Zealand.

    Giulio and his wife Christy Martin opened Roots Restaurant in Lyttelton after the devastating earthquake in 2011. Roots was created with a belief that a restaurant can start up from passion, commitment and determination. The main emphasis is the quality of ingredients, the stories behind the food and presenting the true flavours. Roots Restaurant has several accolades and awards and has maintained its three hat status on 2017.

    Giulio is the founder and driving force behind Eat New Zealand.

  • Angela Clifford

    Angela Clifford

    Angela is the CEO of Eat New Zealand, and is committed to putting New Zealand Food on the world map. 

    She is also the Managing Director of Tongue in Groove Wines in North Canterbury, and has had wine business roles in both Australia & New Zealand over the last 20 years.

    She was the co-founder of Summer of Riesling in New Zealand, a board member of Pinot Noir NZ (NZ Wine's biggest event), and the Canterbury representative for the NZ Sommeliers & Wine Professionals Association. She originally established the Barossa Farmers Market, was vice-chair of the NZ Farmers Market Association and founded Waipara Valley NZ , the Forage North Canterbury, Lamb & Pinot Dinner and Truffle Day Out wine and food events.

    Angela is also the co-owner of an organic permaculture CSA property The Food Farm, with her husband and three children. She knows how to milk a cow in a paddock, gut a chicken, find porcini and grow field tomatoes. These are her proudest accomplishments to date.

  • Sarah Meikle

    Sarah Meikle

    Sarah Meikle is a highly accomplished marketing and events manager who is currently the Chief Executive of the Wellington Culinary Events Trust.  Within this role, Sarah is both the Festival Director of Visa Wellington On a Plate and Event Director of Beervana.

    Sarah is a passionate campaigner for telling New Zealand’s food story and advocating for the role that food plays in New Zealand’s culture.

  • Rob Elliot

    Rob Elliot

    Robert Eliott has a strong background in event creation, leadership, marketing and sales. He is the owner and managing director of Lemongrass Productions – an NZ based event company specialising in food and drink events. Annually Rob and the Lemongrass team run the Taste of Auckland Festival, Auckland Restaurant Month, Street Eats, and the Winetopia event series. A second focus of the business is running functions for corporate clients looking for exceptional food and drink experiences. Through this role Robert frequently collaborates with a wide array of people and companies in the food, wine and hospitality sectors. Robert’s career has seen him designing and operating large-scale events in the UK, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

  • Mark Frood

    Mark Frood

    Mark Frood is a successful international tourism marketer and sits on several boards in New Zealand. He is dedicated to connecting our visitors and people to our land, through our food.

    “I am super passionate about the sustainability of the New Zealand tourism industry, helping the NZ economy and our people grow. I strongly believe that through tourism our culture, adventure, food and beverages we can encourage more people to work, play and stay in New Zealand’s special environment. By doing this today we can encourage those people to become the protectors (tiaki) of that environment tomorrow”.

    "Nau te rourou, naku te rourou, ka ora ai te iwi" – (with your resources and my resources, the tribe/people will survive)

  • Simon Collins

    Simon Collins

    Simon is Vice Chairperson of Eat New Zealand. A serial entrepreneur, he is passionate about chasing opportunities that allow him to do pretty much whatever he wants, whenever he wants.

    In his youth Simon worked in very nearly every Wellington cafe between about 1999 and 2007, indicating he was either in high demand or unpleasant to be around. It was in this time that a passion for food impressed itself in Simon.

    Working as a consultant to government and private sector clients, Simon has developed significant experience with the tourism and food and fibre sectors. This work has seen him travel the length and breadth of Aotearoa, eaten as much as he is humanly able, and revelled in the hospitality of the tangata whenua.

    Simon knows we have the best natural ingredients, stunning regions, people, history, and culture in the world. He wants to bring this beauty to the world through his work with Eat New Zealand.

  • Aimee Kaio

    Aimee Kaio

    Aimee Kaio is of Ngāi Tahu, Te Arawa and Ngā Puhi descent.

    Born and raised among a community of inspirational people, fishermen, muttonbirders, mahika kai whānau in Bluff, New Zealand; Aimee understands the importance of gathering real food for our wellbeing; for our whole being!

    Aimee currently Manages Tribal Economies, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu – a sector that aims to empower its people to self-determine their own futures; through whānau enterprise and the rejuvenation of regional tribal economies such as utilising our land, water and place resource.

    Aimee is a Director of the Southern Institute of Technology; a Board member of COIN South; and a Director/co-owner of small businesses with her husband.

    Her academic background has supported her interests and career of ‘all-sorts’; she holds a Science degree in Biochemistry, a Masters in Entrepreneurship and is contemplating a ‘tribal economies/food sovereignty’ PhD.

    Aimee, her husband Jason and their 4 children live in Bluff today; they love Bluff life, whānau, community and the bountiful kai available to them everyday.

  • Sam Bree

    Sam Bree

    Sam is a Commercial Manager for Kiwibank based in Wellington. Specialising in food and beverage with a core focus in the lower North Island/Upper South region. From manufacturing to hospitality, he is passionate about seeing Kiwi goods being dutifully created and enjoyed by all.

    He believes that's telling the story of our food and beverage is what will continue to drive this sector into new frontiers. Our country has an abundance to offer - telling the story of what is it, where it came from and how to buy it is the key to the continued success the industry deserves.

    Sam is a Chartered Accountant and worked as an Accountant before starting in banking in 2014. It is with these skills that he takes on the Treasurer role at Eat New Zealand.

    He lives in Wellington with his wife and three young boys. They spend their time between Wellington and Hawkes Bay where they are in the early stages of planting their own small orchard.

  • Kate Underwood

    Kate Underwood

    Kate is a freelance food writer, communications specialist and founder of @relishthememory – a dedicated food storytelling platform. With a background in Human Nutrition, she spent seven years with Potatoes New Zealand working across all aspects of communications, whilst delivering The Chip Group, a unique industry/government training initiative promoting healthier hot chips. She was also part of a team of global food trend-analysts for London based agency – The Food People.

    In 2019 she was named Emerging Food Communicator at the 2019 NZ Food Media Awards and she has her finger in a number of NZ food-related pies. She's an engaged member of Food Writers New Zealand, contributes regularly to Nourish Magazine, UNO Magazine and was Stone Soup’s biggest fan. She's judged various NZ Food Awards including: Metro’s Cheap Eats, NZ Sausage Awards and the 2020 Outstanding Food Producers and is a current member of the Asia New Zealand Foundation Leadership Network.

    Kate works alongside Angela to drive the New Zealand food story across all Eat New Zealand platforms, and has a deep desire for everyone to feel as captivated by our diverse food scene as she does. She's also the lead of our Eat New Zealand Kaitaki - a collective of young food storytellers from across the food system.

    Born and bred in Te Puke on kiwifruit, whitebait and avocados, these days she’s based in Ōtautahi and spends most of her days acquiring, cooking, eating, grammin’ and writing about food, as the Food Editor for Avenues Magazine.


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