A Feast worth following  

Words by  Hannah Mumby
Andy Jackson Andy Jackson

Taranaki’s major food festival is stirring things up with a new four-day, seasonal format designed to tell the region’s food and beverage story.

Launched in 2018, the Feastival event flourished in 2019 before being hit with Covid-19 turbulence across 2020-2021. Now, in 2022, a passionate group of chefs, restaurateurs, producers and growers are cooking up something special for Spring Feastival Taranaki.

The revamped format that will run from September 1-4 has been overseen by the newly established Taranaki Culinary Action Group, co-chaired by TAFT’s Suzanne Porter and Jessica Parker (Taranaki Chamber of Commerce). Together with local hospitality heroes and a Venture Taranaki consultation with food festival guru Sarah Meikle of Wellington on a Plate, the group have carefully crafted an event that will celebrate the seasonal culinary reputation of the entire region.   

Founder, Rachel Church, says one of Feastival’s objectives is to bring together Taranaki’s food story – its past, present, and what it might look like in the future.

“Our geography, the mounga, our producers right around the mountain – these are what set us apart from other regions. We’re wanting to showcase and celebrate the culinary masterminds we have here.” 

While Spring Feastival 2022 will focus on South Taranaki’s culinary scene, the Autumn, Winter and Summer Feastivals to follow will all highlight a different Taranaki community.

“This is a way to tell the Taranaki story and educate people about what’s happening in South Taranaki, or Stratford, or around the coast.”

Picture a “north meets south” collaboration between Nice Hotel and Stratford’s Fenton Street Distillery, a tour of South Taranaki’s successful producers, High Tea with Garden Cake Kitchen in Egmont Village, or a long lunch courtesy of Shining Peak Brewing in partnership with the Stratford Mountain House. 

“The variety of events is amazing, not just with the concept of each occasion, but the location and length of event. There’s ones of pure indulgence, ones with a bit more education involved, or quick-and-easy evening fun. Something for everyone, we hope.

“It’s time to come out and celebrate what we have here, have some fun, and experience these amazing collaborations.”  

Rachel says Taranaki as a whole is a very understated region, and when it comes to food, it’s no different.

“Who knew we grew so much? There is a lot we produce here and it’s not recognised as coming from the region. We have so many creative people with amazing ideas and a desire to collaborate. It’s not something we shout from the rooftops as a region, so through Feastival, we’re hoping to do just that.” 

Taranaki tourism organisation Venture Taranaki is a major sponsor of the event alongside New Plymouth District Council, while South Taranaki Disctrict Council and design and marketing company, Favour the Brave, are also supporting the event.

Venture Taranaki’s GM of People and Place, Vicki Fairley, says food is a key part of the region’s visitor experience and supporting Feastival helped to facilitate positive regional outcomes across many areas.

“Our Regional Events Strategy highlighted food events as a key growth opportunity and regional strength.

“Events that reflect the authenticity and essence of Taranaki’s food sector, while telling the region’s food story, are a great way to encourage visitation as well as raise awareness of Taranaki as a foodie region like no other.”

Along with Fairley, NPDC Community Partnerships Lead, Callum Williamson, says Feastival is a great opportunity for locals and their out-of-town friends to come together and experience some fun, gastronomic experiences.

“Feastival has become a staple of our Sustainable Lifestyle Capital and NPDC is fully behind it as an attraction. If you haven’t experienced Feastival yet, then it’s time to tuck in and enjoy it.”

Event Tasters

Thursday 1 September

North meets South:  Collaboration between Nice Hotel & Table Restaurant and Fenton Street Distillery.  Come and enjoy Vodka and Tapas four ways. This will be a vivacious evening of cocktails, live music and story-telling, starting with a welcome vodka martini and tales from Terry Parkes and Stuart Greenhill.   

Friday 2 September

Wine Dive at Known Unknown: Transforming into New Plymouth’s most eclectic watering hole, Known Unknown will be serving dirty dogs, loaded nachos, artichoke dip, wine, West Cider and local beers. Open til late.

Saturday 2 September

Fanny Fantham’s Long Lunch.  A three-course lunch celebrating Fanny Fantham and other stories of Taranaki Mounga. Hosted by Shining Peak Brewing and Stratford Mountain House, your ticket will include bus transport from Shining Peak to Stratford, and include a three course lunch with matched beer.

Championing Local Food:  A presentation at Govett-Brewster showcasing innovation in the market garden space, with Jodi Roebuck from Roebuck Farms.

Sunday 3 September 

Trencherman with Known Unknown Urban Winery: A sneak peek into the dining room of The Okato’s new hotel and restaurant, Trencherman, opening later in 2022. Includes a stunning three course brunch matched to cocktails, wine and cider from Known Unknown. It will be a little bit old school, a little bit new school, but you’ll definitely need a nap after!

To view the full event list and book your tickets head to www.feastival.co.nz.


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