Hawke's Bay Harvest Festival canned for 2012

By Lawrence Gullery of Hawke's Bay Today -
The Beat Girls perform at last year's Harvest Festival in Hawke's Bay. Photo / Paul Taylor
The Beat Girls perform at last year's Harvest Festival in Hawke's Bay. Photo / Paul Taylor

The 15-year-old Harvest Hawke's Bay Food and Wine Festival has been dropped from the tourist calendar leaving the province without a major event showcasing its produce this summer.

Hawke's Bay Tourism is meeting today with food and wine groups to begin talking about a new event which could be held next summer season, before the end of 2012.

Hawke's Bay Winegrowers Inc withdrew from staging Harvest Hawke's Bay Food and Wine Festival after 14 years and last summer it was taken over by Gameplan NZ Ltd, and held at Roy's Hill near Hastings.

The Harvest Hawke's Bay website now said: "Unfortunately this event is not being held in 2012."

Hawke's Bay Tourism general manager Annie Dundas said the days of the one-off food and wine festival were over.

"What has happened is that we have numerous smaller food and wine events this summer and about 22 wine concerts so the choices are still rich compared to last year," she said.

"Numbers were down for Harvest Hawke's Bay last year. We don't run that event so we're not sure why, but clearly it was not as high as previous years."

Ms Dundas said the event would be discussed at today's meeting, so a decision could be made on an ideal replacement.

"All is not lost," she said. "We recognise that we have to have some food and wine offering in Hawke's Bay, it's not going to happen within the next two or three months but could be in this calendar year."

Hawke's Bay Tourism's work towards organising the region's events took another step forward this week with the appointment of Rebecca McPherson, as its regional events manager.

Ms McPherson begins work on February 12 and is on a 12-month contract. She will co-ordinate all regional promotion marketing and event activity.

She has worked for several years in the events industry, previously at Event Scotland, on its international and national event portfolios.

Hawke's Bay Tourism has also launched its online event calendar, http://events.hawkesbaynz.com which will supply information to other sites, including the official regional tourism site, www.hawkesbaynz.com.

It means people will only need to register an event once in order for it to appear on multiple sites. Napier city and Hastings district councils as well as Central Hawke's Bay Promotions will subscribe to the event calendar.

The one-stop-shop events calendar was the idea of Hawke's Bay's digital entrepreneur Rod Drury and designed by Havelock North web company Mogul with Eventfinder. It was compatible with iPad and iPhone consoles.

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