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Motueka to celebrate local food production

July 20th, 2016

Petra Stephenson (left), the Kai Fest planning team coordinator, and Kahu Geor, contracted project planner.

A team of people from a range of community organisations are planning a new annual event that will celebrate the great kai produced around Motueka.

The inaugural Motueka Kai Fest will be held next April 9th as a huge and colourful community celebration centred on Decks Reserve.

Organisers hope that Kai Fest will become a "signature event" for the town. They have been working quietly for some nine months now building a network of participants and an event template which will make it sustainable beyond year one.

Planning team coordinator Petra Stephenson says nearly $5000 of seed funding has been provided by six local agencies to pay for professional event design and initial networking.

"The event will mainly be about acknowledging and celebrating what makes Motueka such a great place for growing food, and as it builds we're confident it will be supported increasingly by the local food producers," Petra says.

"The main event on the Sunday will include pageantry, family-oriented games with a harvest theme, fun activities, entertainment and education.

"We're really excited, in particular, about the pageantry part. With children heavily involved and a lot of creative minds at work, it will make for a creative parade, recognising the importance in local food production of our special climate, water, soil and people.

"We also envisage people - locals and tourists - wandering around stalls on the reserve sampling local and ethnic foods and drinks and learning about food production."

Approaches will be made to retailers such as cafes which deal with food, to orchardists and other food producers, and community groups which would like to play a part on the day or in activities leading up to the celebration event.

Advertisements will run next month for a paid, part-time event coordinator to manage the preparations. This is not the first time a harvest celebration event has been planned in Motueka, but this time the team have been doing far more preparation and have drawn in a stronger group of planners, including the area's first gardeners, local iwi.

A signature event celebrating our local food industry including pip fruit, hops, grapes, seafood and kiwifruit, was one of the most popular ideas for the town's future that came out of Vision Motueka's "Motueka 2030" community survey last year.

The benefits identified included bringing the community together, attracting more tourists during the shoulder season, making Motueka and its food better known to New Zealanders, and providing education to young and old about the value and importance of local food production.

Vision Motueka decided to tackle this project and is the "umbrella" organisation raising and managing the finances, but is largely "hands off" on the details of the event plan.

$4,832 of seeding money has been provided by Tasman District Council, Nelson Economic Development Agency, Wakatu Inc, Tasman Bay Promotion Assoc (i-SITE), Vision Motueka and Motueka Community Board.

Melissa Gray, of Riwaka-based Specialised Print, created the logo (pictured) free of charge.

Comment by Terri Everett:
[Posted 21 July 2016]

Yah! Its happening!!! Love you all for pulling it together!

Comment by Annie Semmens:
[Posted 21 July 2016]

Well done, so inviting.

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