PRESS RELEASE: Thames Coromandel District Council
Stunning scenery, seafood and sharing industry information was the main course of the day for the Coromandel’s first Food Forum held this week.
About 60 guests including restaurant and café owners, hospitality and tourism industry experts, craft beer brewers, winemakers and local homegrown artisan food producers mixed and mingled before guest speakers from Food Waikato (Waikato Innovation Park), Export NZ, NZ Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) and Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development (ATEED) gave presentations on how they can provide support, resources, business mentors and access to funding opportunities to food-related businesses and industry on the Coromandel.
“We arranged the forum because we see the huge benefit in any industry meeting and sharing ideas on common issues,” says Mayor Sandra Goudie in her official welcome. “This is an opportunity for our food producers to get together to meet each other and discuss face-to-face respective success stories and challenges.”
Several issues were raised in the forum including how restaurants and cafes could get access to fish and seafood caught locally, ways to improve standards of service and get local young people involved more in the hospitality and food/beverage industry and ways to capitalise on the Coromandel brand.
“This first forum has been brilliant to get feedback from the industry about what issues and challenges they are facing, what sort of opportunities there could be for businesses to work together and what ways we can leverage and promote the Coromandel brand around food further,” says Mayor Sandra.
A survey will be going out shortly to participants, and an action plan formulated about how to address some of the points raised by industry. Meanwhile the guest speaker presentations on the day:
Shane Kells – from the FoodWaikato branch of NZ Food Innovation Network. With 27 years of dairy industry experience with Fonterra and Tatua Dairy, and previous to that as a consultant to Pfizer and other independent brands. Shane talked about what FoodWaikato can offer Coromandel businesses around support, access to funding and networking opportunities. You can view his presentation here.
Sharon Robertson from Export NZ comes from a background in business development and is a business mentor. Her presentation focused on the role that Export NZ plays in helping businesses make the step to exporting and what the costs can involve. You can view her presentation here.
Wendy Voegelin from ATEED shared her experience around food tourism, hospitality in media, events, and public relations and the vision to see the Coromandel (along with Auckland and NZ) become a world leader in food and beverage tourism. You can read here presentation here.
Jenny Milson from NZTE then discussed regional partnerships and sustainable business networks and what that could mean for the Coromandel. Jenny is currently working with up to 100 export businesses of all sizes across Waikato and the Bay of Plenty. You can view her presentation here.
The event was kindly sponsored by Marina Bar and Grill, which can cater for approximately 120 guests and has outstanding views overlooking the estuary between Tairua and Pauanui. The new venue is located on the top level of Tairua Marina and produces contemporary New Zealand cuisine along with its own brand of locally brewed craft beer. It opens officially for dining this Friday 10 November.
Local food producers also brought along tasters including fresh oysters in the shell from the Coromandel Oyster company a selection of macadamia dukkah, crusts and nuts from Cathedral Cove Macadamias, boutique wines from Mercury Bay Estate craft beer from Coromandel Brewing Company and for desert a cake of the Coromandel made by Tairua-based company Cakes by the Ocean – which replicated the 2018 Coromandel Food Collective Trail Guide which was also launched at the forum.
The Food Trail guide can be picked up from all our Council offices, libraries, i-SITES and information centres.