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Kai Fest team prepares for even better event

January 23rd, 2018
[by David Armstrong]

Work is ramping up in preparation for this year's Motueka Kai Fest on April 8th, with the aim of making it even bigger and better than the first staging last April.

The 2017 event was widely considered an outstanding start to what is hoped will be a signature event for Motueka, with about 4000 people attending at the Decks Reserve venue.

But organisers identified several aspects where changes would make it even better, including a wider variety of food stalls, better venue layout and improvements to the spectacular parade and pageant.

The seven members of the newly formed Board of Trustees have been active in early planning and budgeting since last July, and now the creative team have resumed regular meetings working on the details.

Petra Stephenson has been contracted as event coordinator this year, and she is actively recruiting people and community groups for the many activities that go into staging such a large-scale event.

"We learned a great deal from the first Kai Fest," Petra says. "Many aspects worked wonderfully well, but some needed adjustment or a new approach.

"There are so many other possibilities. For instance, we need to make the parade and pageantry easier to view, get local food industries involved and including a cooking competition/ BBQ cook off would be superb."

This year the parade, involving local schools again, will take a different route so that all participants will be seen and appreciated by the whole crowd.

The registration for stalls has also been simplified and initial invitations have been sent out. It is now online via our website and Facebook Page.

Extensive planning has also gone into running a supervised alcohol tasting area, given the importance of wines, ciders and hop-based beverages to Motueka's economy.

"Our big drive at present is to get community groups involved in assisting with parts of the event, such as decorating the stage, waste management, entertainment, games and security," Petra says.

"If we can get together a good team of enthusiastic people and share the load, we have the opportunity to make the Kai Fest a real signature event for the town and for the District into the future. Let us make this a festival by the community for the community!"

Petra says the $20,000 special project fund granted to the team by the Tasman District Council will go a long way to making the event financially viable into the future. A good proportion of that money is going into establishing sound organisation practices and clear task definition so they can be repeated for future years.

The Motueka Kai Fest will take place on Sunday, April 8th, from 10.00am to 3.00pm on the green of Decks Reserve, beside the Sunday Market. It is a zero-waste event.

Anyone wanting to lend a hand, please contact Petra at

Photo: Some of the Kai Fest organising team fine-tuning the event venue plan this week. From left standing: Ron Sharp, Terri Everett, Rimke Paul. Seated Petra Stephenson (event coordinator) and Brooke Walker.

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