Planned for April, the event programme for the inaugural Flavours of Plenty Festival has been released. The highly anticipated festival incorporates 19 distinctive culinary activities that will be held across the Coastal Bay of Plenty April 7-10.
Tourism Bay of Plenty is overseeing the festival, which is also being supported by the Regional Events Fund and TECT.
Tumuaki/General Manager Oscar Nathan acknowledged that the country’s recent shift into the red traffic light setting and predictions of high Covid cases have raised concerns about events, but in times like these he said Tourism Bay of Plenty is heeding the call from local businesses and hospitality operators who want to be proactive and move forward as planned.
“We’ve been having a lot of discussions with stakeholders in the past two weeks, gauging the sentiment within the local hospitality sector, and they’re confident they can deliver each festival event safely within the current red settings.
“In fact, they’ve said what they really need right now is for the public to get behind this initiative, so we’re delighted to open ticket sales today. We’re encouraging foodie fans from around the country to take up this opportunity, with the confidence that if anything has to change later, full refunds will be issued minus the standard booking fee.”
Festival events include degustations, hands-on workshops, plant-based luncheons, and cheese rolling competitions all provided by local artisans, growers, chefs, and seafood producers.
Well-known pop-up foodie event specialist, Kitchen Takeover, will also deliver a modern day hāngi with Kasey and Kārena Bird, giving participants the opportunity to meet the famous MasterChef winners.
Restaurants will be challenged to create special festival dishes made with ingredients from local producers, such as Solomons Gold Chocolate, Harbourside Macadamias, and Manawa Honey, with the results being judged by a panel of experts.
“There’ll be something on the menu to suit every taste - all of the festival events are being designed to showcase our local food provenance to really get those flavours on each plate,” noted Nathan.
Festival Director, Rae Baker, said the Covid-19 policy that’s being applied to each event is robust.
“We have worked with event partners to ensure red traffic light requirements can be adhered to, keeping people as safe as possible, and we’re satisfied that we can run the festival at all levels of the current Covid-19 Protection Framework.
“While we are in red, each event will operate within the 100-person limit, and if we move back into orange by the time the festival takes place in April, we will be able to revert to unlimited event capacities. Events at all levels will require a vaccine pass, with non-vaccinated patrons able to attend the Tauranga Farmers Market and the Mount Mainstreet Urban Market.”
The programme release is the culmination of many months of work and is part of a wider food strategy that acknowledges the region’s long-standing tradition of gathering and serving excellent kai.
“The flow-on effect of a festival like this will bring much-needed custom for a wide range of local businesses - and it’s becoming obvious just how vital it is to support them, now more than ever. We expect this festival will become a recurring annual feature in our regional event calendar and will continue to benefit the Bay for years to come,” Nathan concluded.