Foodwriters Conference

FW conference small2

The mighty Waikato – where magic runs deep.

Foodwriters from throughout New Zealand attended the Foodwriters New Zealand 2019 Conference held in the Waikato. The first day was held at The Zealong Tea Estate which was a magical setting.

Jason Dawson, Chief Executive Hamilton and Waikato Tourism, welcomed delegates to the Waikato and outlined some of the region’s magic: from Waitomo to Hobbiton, Field days to Sevens and even World Darts. This led into a fast-paced day with great speakers, fantastic food and friendly producers enthusiastically telling their stories. 

Keynote speakers were Pat Nourse, creative director, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival and Sarah Meikle, CEO Wellington Culinary Events Trust and Festival director of ‘Wellington on a Plate’. They shared views on New Zealand’s and Australia’s food and culinary industries having an impact on the exciting yet crowded global table. The conversation was facilitated by Lauraine Jacobs.

Pat Nourse was editor of Gourmet Traveller for 14 years and generously shared his wealth of knowledge at this session and throughout the conference. He has recently culled some of his cookbooks and now has just 25 cubic metres of books! Sarah Meikle, who started as a glassie in her father’s eateries, including the Loaded Hog, is on a mission to have Wellington globally recognised as a food city. They both encouraged foodwriters to be curious and constantly seek and write great stories on food and continue to develop a national food identity. People are seeking a taste of New Zealand such as our wonderful New Zealand grown produce. was proud to host Pat in the Waikato and be a sponsor of this conference.

‘Tour and Taste Raglan’ was the theme for day two, and we visited a Creamery, Honey Hives, explored Raglan, ate local beef, fish and vegetables and generally had a fun and inspiring day. Strange as it may seem, the highlight of the tour was the Raglan Resource Recovery Centre [RRRC]. The centre includes a reuse shop, retail wood yard, retail metal yard, public recycle bay, refuse transfer station and green waste drop off area. Food waste is being turned into saleable bags of compost. RRRC estimates that 78,833 kg waste is being diverted from landfills each month. More information at