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Kai Fest team gears up for action



The layout of Decks Reserve for the
Motueka Kai Fest event is taking shape

January 20th, 2017
[by David Armstrong]

The signs are positive for the inaugural Motueka Kai Fest on April 9th to be a huge success, with the planners signing up an experienced team of people to manage all key activities.

With less than three months to go and over 15 months of preparation and planning under their belts, the committee have engaged people with local knowledge and expertise to ensure all the necessary details are in place.

The initial planning team of seven, led by Petra Stephenson and under the administrative umbrella of Vision Motueka, spent almost a year developing the concept and designing the goals and key elements.

With a total of nearly $19,000 funding received from a variety of organisations, they contracted Motueka event manager Terri Everett in September to put the pieces in place (see our earlier story).

Over the past two months they have enlisted other people prepared and enthused to organise key activities.

Musician and FreshFM radio host Ian Ramsden is preparing a programme of entertainment, and plans to enlist some well-known music acts and many buskers and spot performers for the event proper - from 10.00am to 3.00pm on Decks Reserve.

He hopes that many of the buskers will also like to put on performances in High Street on the eve of the event, with Saturday trading in shops and all cafes open.

Anyone wanting to be considered for event entertainment or busking are urged to contact Ian or to complete an application form to be found on the event website, www.motuekakaifest.nz.

Renee Docherty, who was the founder and inspiration behind the Matariki Cultural Hub for Pacific workers, has also agreed to organise the pageant which will open the main event at 11.00am on Decks Reserve.

The pageant will involve students from most schools in the district dressed in food themes or expressing the environmental elements of water, air, earth and fire.

The pageant will be followed by a brief formal opening involving a number of dignitaries, including leaders of major local food industries, and this aspect is being organised by well-known local iwi leader Ropata Taylor.

The hugely popular Motueka Sunday Market will modify its hours and location on the Kai Fest day to run concurrently with the event programme, and the market coordinator Judy Roper is working closely with the event committee to ensure the combination works well and all market regulars are involved.

Other stalls, especially food related, are encouraged, and any person or group wanting a stall position should apply via the event website, www.motuekakaifest.nz.

Part of the programme will be a set of fun team games, many of them food-themed, and these will be planned and run by Whenua Iti general manager Mark Bruce-Miller.

Although the Kai Fest is primarily a community event, broad advertising in the Nelson region and beyond will ensure there will be many visitors in town for the day or arriving days earlier for the educational programmes and workshops being planned by the Our Kai Motueka group.

Visitors to town mean retail opportunities, and Our Town Motueka coordinator Claire Hutt and Sarah Kaye are working with the event team and the town's businesses to ensure High Street is buzzing on that weekend, with as many shops open as possible and shop windows dressed up with food themes.

Tasman District Council is facilitating the event organisation where possible through its Community Partnership Officer Lani Evans, who has been attending committee meetings for the past six months.

Team leader Petra Stephenson says an advertising campaign for the Kai Fest will begin seriously in March, and this will include details of the workshops and speakers running in the preceding week.

"The biggest thing for us now is to hear from people and groups that would like to have stalls or participate in other ways at the Kai Fest on Sunday," she says. "We urge them to get in touch via our website."



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