Food Hawke's Bay has appointed a new manager who hopes to draw more attention to the region's food and wine.

Havelock North-based Patricia Small will move from her role as group sales manager at Country Culinaire to Food Hawke's Bay in May. Ms Small will replace Vicky Rope, who is to work with the Child Cancer Foundation.

"I thought it would be an exciting challenge in an industry I'm very familiar with," Ms Small said of her new position. She was excited to meet Food Hawke's Bay members.

"Producers, restaurants, specialty shops - everyone is stretched to the limit in terms of the economy. It's getting your product out there, into the market at a price people will pay."


She planned to work closely with tourism and consolidate some of the region's food and wine events.

"It's getting that Hawke's Bay brand out there."

Ms Small returned to New Zealand in 1995 after 20 years in the UK. "I went overseas to do a one-year OE and decided to stay on because I loved it so much."

Her experience working for not-for-profits such as Charity for the Blind in the UK had left her well-equipped to secure sponsorship for events in her new role.

Ms Small described her time running a country inn in Hertfordshire, which had two restaurants, as "jolly hard work ".

"That was my first experience with local producers - we tried to support them as much as we could," she said.

On her return to New Zealand, she bought and ran a small manufacturing company in Christchurch which produced hummus and falafel.

"This was a real learning curve, which has given me a valuable understanding of the challenges and pitfalls of running a small food manufacturing company."

Ms Small moved from Christchurch to Hawke's Bay in 2003 and had "lots of ideas," for promoting the region as a destination for food and wine lovers, she said.