The sixth annual Eat New Zealand Food Hui 2020. Held in conjunction with the Restaurant Association, our two day event at Te Papa in Wellington was a roaring success. In a year where we didn’t even know we’d be able to hold it, we had humble expectations. Instead it was our BIGGEST EVER event.
We explored the issues facing our hospitality industry on the first day and then free-ranged across our food system on day two.
Our Kaitaki collective of next generation story-tellers started day two with hope. We learnt the true meaning of the word Manaakitanga, were presented with a heartfelt journey to connect food & health, a new vision for wine (#KnowYourWinegrower), an invitation to connect from a young farmer and an acknowledgment of the power of a Slow Food lens on life.
By mid morning New Zealand’s first Slow Fish discussion was held, presenting empty plates instead of local fish and a plea to support our endangered independent fishers. It was clear that social licence can only happen when we have access to our own fish in our communities, when we’re given the opportunity to #KnowYourFisher.
A local grain economy was touted. An amazing panel of grain farmers, bakers and arable leaders calling for recognition for the quality and opportunity if we’re allowed to #EatNZGrains.
And after lunch we bought the big guns out to discuss a national food strategy for Aotearoa. The panel included those who will implement the strategy, powerful voices on the importance of health and community in any design, and a reminder to include those for whom our current food system isn’t working.
We ended the day by considering how we can celebrate our food through tourism and experience. What are the opportunities for kai tourism and producer led experiences? Why it’s important be authentic, and how we celebrate our food here is fundamental to how we present ourselves internationally as a food nation.
Both days included lunch cooked by our young Kaitaki chefs including everything from NZ chickpeas to handmade dumplings filled with six types of mushrooms and Wairarapa crickets to support the ecosystem. There were fried bread sandwiches with BBQ'ed asparagus and fresh New Zealand grown potato chips sprinkled with celery salt.
There is never any substitute for marinating yourself in the vibe and energy of a Food Hui. It was so powerful to be in a room full of passionate people connecting, conversing and coming together to be part of the most important food conversation in New Zealand.
Thank you so much to everyone who made it along, and especially to our sponsors: ANZ, Ministry for Primary Industries, The Foundation of Arable Research, as well as support from Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington Culinary Events Trust and the Restaurant Association of New Zealand.
Here’s some media reaction on RNZ from the Food Hui so far;
Stay tuned for exciting NZ food times ahead and see more of the #FoodHui2020 action over on Instagram and Facebook.