Rural round-up

25/11/2020

Biotech sector report calls for genetic modification rules review :

The biotech sector wants the government to review the rules around genetic modification saying the restrictions are holding the industry back.

A landmark report on the sector predicts the industry could be worth as much as $50 billion.

However, the Aotearoa Boosted by BioTech report pulls together a raft of constraints and challenges identified over the last decade, that need to be overcome before this can happen

A burgeoning part of the wider technology industry, BioTech mainly innovates out of the primary sector but is also popular in health, industrial and environment. . .

Moeraki’s indomitable slow fish legend :

Fleurs Place, in Moeraki, is one of New Zealand’s best-loved restaurants, and many people call it the best seafood restaurant in the country. However, Fleur Sullivan never even wanted to start a restaurant when she first came to Moeraki nearly 20 years ago. That’s just how things ended up after she started trying to help people out.

Thinking this month about Slow Fish – which is about preserving traditional fishing communities and connecting people more directly with the fish they eat, as much as it is about protecting marine reserves – Moeraki is an interesting case study. It illustrates just how vulnerable such fishing communities in Aotearoa have become in recent decades.

Ask most people what it is they like about Fleurs Place and, in addition to the beautiful setting and homely atmosphere (not to mention Fleur herself, who personally greets nearly every guest as if they’re old friends), a common answer will be its simplicity and honesty.

Fleur serves wholesome, simple, delicious food made with high quality local ingredients – including fresh fish caught by local Moeraki fishers, landed right on the dock beside the restaurant door. It seems like a simple enough model: put a restaurant by the jetty of a sleepy old fishing village, and serve fish straight off the boats. But as anyone who knows anything about commercial New Zealand fisheries will know, this “simple” set up is anything but simple. . .

Hunt scoops leadership award – Sudesh Kissun:

Southland drystock farmer Bernadette Hunt has scooped the 2020 primary industry’s leadership award.

The award, presented last night at the 2020 Primary Industries conference dinner in Wellington, recognises Hunt’s commitment to advocating for farming, particularly given her efforts to highlight the challenges farmers face nationwide measuring up to the government’s new freshwater regulations.

“Bernadette has the rare combination of having a clear vision of what’s right and wrong, being able to articulate a strong message and bring others on the journey. She absolutely leads by example,” Federated Farmers chief executive Terry Copeland said.

The Outstanding Contribution award, sponsored by Massey Ferguson and presented by chief executive Peter Scott, went to Beef and Lamb’s Rob Davison. . . 

Kiwifruit orchard wins inaugural award for excellence in Māori horticulture :

A kiwifruit orchard in the Eastern Bay of Plenty has taken out the inaugural Ahuwhenua Trophy for excellence in Māori horticulture.

The Ahuwhenua Trophy competition, which is in its 87th year, celebrates excellence by Māori across the farming sector.

For this first time this year the award was focused on recognising excellence in horticulture.

The award went to Te Kaha 15B Hineora Orchard, a 11.5 hectare freehold block of Māori land at Te Kaha, 65km east of Ōpōtiki. . . 

Training targets farm freshwater plans:

As farm freshwater plans are set to become part of industry requirements following the Government’s Essential Freshwater reforms, Massey University has created short courses to meet what will be a growing demand for training in the area.

As a result of changes to the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management, almost all farms in New Zealand will need to have a freshwater plan.

One of the concerns voiced by the industry about that, is there are not enough people with the necessary training to make that requirement a reality.

Massey dairy production systems professor Danny Donaghy says the new short courses are designed to fill that gap and move away from the traditional “hours and hours of online lectures,” and will instead focus on flexibility, new technologies and case studies. . . 

Constellation Brands NZ enters agreement  with Giesen Group to sell its Riverlands Winery:

New Zealand’s largest exporter of New Zealand wine to the US, Constellation Brands New Zealand, has sold its Marlborough-based Riverlands Winery to family-owned Giesen Group.

One of three Constellation-owned wineries in New Zealand, the Riverlands Winery has been part of the company’s portfolio since 2006. While the facility is no longer suited to Constellation’s ambitious growth plans, its capacity for smaller production runs ensured a great fit with Giesen’s production plans. Its location across the road from Giesen’s existing Marlborough winery cemented the extension as a logical and exciting strategic move for the innovative New Zealand-owned brand.

The sale of the winery is planned to settle in mid-December this year, in time for the upcoming 2021 harvest. Giesen is hopeful all current Riverlands employees will join the their team and be part of their future growth plans for the winery. . . 

Primary producers set to crack into nut producing orchard up for sale:

One of New Zealand’s biggest commercial macadamia nut orchards and associated macadamia nut processing and manufacturing operations have been placed on the market for sale.

The 8.1-hectare Top Notch Macadamias operation at Patetonga on the Hauraki Plains near the base of the Coromandel produces more than 15 tonnes of the high-value hand-harvested nuts annually – all of which are processed on-site and marketed through an established retail network, and directly via on-line sales.

Among Top Notch’s vast product catalogue range are salted nuts, roasted nuts, chocolate-coated macadamia nuts, honey caramel nuts, macadamia muesli, sweet macadamia brittle, macadamia butter, and macadamia dukkha. . . 

Classic country pub with mini golf course has buyers teed up:

A modern country pub operating in one of New Zealand’s premier year-round outdoor adventure and tourism regions – coming complete with its own 18-hole mini-golf course – has been placed on the market for sale.

Schnapps Bar in the centre of the North Island is located near the pivotal junction of State Highways 47 leading into and out of Tongariro National Park, and the north to south routed State Highway 4.

With World Heritage status, nearby Tongariro National Park is New Zealand’s oldest national park. Situated just a few hundred metres from National Park’s only petrol station and grocery store, Schnapps Bar is one of only a few licensed hospitality premises operating in the area. . . 

 


Regions need immigrants

19/12/2016

The hospitality industry outside main centers is in desperate need of staff:

A serious shortage of kitchen staff has seen renowned Moeraki restaurateur Fleur Sullivan resort to washing the dishes herself.

“We’re going into summer with a skeleton staff. It’s terrifying at the moment.

“I’ve been doing the dishes flat out.” 

Sullivan, who is advertising for three chefs and also needs a dish washer and a kitchen hand, is desperate to bolster her team before the visitor peak hits bringing more than 200 diners a day. 

Restaurant Association chief executive Marisa Bidois said staff shortages were an issue throughout the country, but small towns and isolated areas were really struggling to recruit cafe, bar and restaurant workers.

In a recent survey 65 per cent of hospitality businesses reported extreme difficulty hiring chefs with positions advertised repeatedly to find suitable candidates. . . .

When employers have a vacancy they have to establish there are no local people who can do the work before they’re able to take on a worker from overseas.

The position has to be advertised and employers have to liaise with WINZ to ensure no-one who is registered as unemployed would be suitable.

The pool of local labour in a small place like Moeraki is very, very small.

Any locals who can and want to work will be working.

Yet employers like Fleur have to go through the process every time they need more staff. That can be within days or even hours of having completed the process if another staff member leaves.

The system needs to have a bit of flexibility to recognise  the difficulties employers in remote wares face and allow them to employ staff without going through the time consuming and expensive rigmarole every time they have a vacancy.

The Opposition keep saying there are too many immigrants. That’s certainly not the case in Moeraki and places like it where there are not nearly enough locals for the available work.

 


Rural round-up

10/11/2015

Chefs see food as much more than a commodity – Rebecca Ryan:

There’s a new movement gaining momentum in the New Zealand food industry. ConversatioNZ, aiming to ”inspire and empower” by creating a strong sense of pride and respect for the country’s natural, edible resources, is a not-for-profit movement created to share the story of New Zealand food and push culinary boundaries. North Otago reporter Rebecca Ryan talks to North Otago chefs and ConversatioNZ advisory board members Bevan Smith and Fleur Sullivan about it

Thirteen years ago, Fleur Sullivan saw waste and an opportunity for people to enjoy ”beautiful, fresh fish” straight off the boats in Moeraki.

Her restaurant Fleur’s Place, she says, was formed after she saw the byproduct – the fish brains, the heads, the livers – being thrown overboard from fishing boats and she knew she could use what was being thrown away. . . 

Te Brake hits the accelerator – Ali Tocker:

Changing the guard at Young Farmers has propelled meat industry accountant Jason Te Brake into the hot seat as chairman. He talked to Ali Tocker about his career so far and his aspirations for the Young Farmers movement while he heads the board.

Jason Te Brake is clever, confident and committed – three qualities that have earned him the role of chairman of New Zealand Young Farmers (NZYF).

The 27-year-old has his sights set on a strong and secure future for the group.

Woman’s passion for health and safety leads to award:

A passion for improving health and safety on New Zealand farms, and in particular the health of those working in the industry, has contributed to a West Coast farmer being named the winner of the rural category of the Women of Influence Award.

Katie Milne, a dairy farmer from Rotomanu, is also a member of the Federated Farmers Board, the National Animal Welfare Advisory Board, TB-Free West Coast and numerous other groups, including being a volunteer firefighter.

Ms Milne works closely with the Rural Health Alliance and travels the country talking to farmers about health and safety.

She said some farmers were not coping due to low or dropping returns, but help was available. . . 

Water scheme expanding down valley – Hamish Maclean:

The North Otago Irrigation Company’s $57 million expansion down the Kakanui Valley is well under way.

Last month, McConnell Dowell Constructors crews began laying the main line – 1.2m-diameter reinforced fibreglass pipes – that will stretch towards Herbert.

The company almost tripled the size of the head pond on Ngapara-Georgetown Rd and upgraded pump stations over the winter.

The project was still on target for the September 2016 hook-up, company chairman Leigh Hamilton said. . . .

Significantly Improved Result Confirmed for Silver Fern Farms:

Silver Fern Farms has confirmed a positive 2015 financial result and further inroads made on debt reduction.

For the financial year ended September 2015, the company achieved Earnings before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortisation (EBITDA) of $86.9m. This represented a 28 percent improvement on the $68.1m achieved in 2014. Net profit before tax for the year was $27.2m, up from $1.8m in 2014.

Chairman Rob Hewett said Silver Fern Farms’ shareholders will be pleased by the audited result. . . .

Potatoes ditch cadmium:

University of Canterbury researchers have developed potatoes that are resistant to cadmium, a toxic metal found in soil.

They say the finding could give growers here a new marketing edge.

Biotechnology lecturer Dr David Leung said their potatoes had a trait that could solve this problem and enhance New Zealand’s best potato varieties. . . 

 


Fleur honoured for service to food

02/01/2013

Fleur Sullivan has been named as a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to the food industry.

. . . Although Fleur’s Place was named by Cuisine magazine as one of the ”100 best things about New Zealand” in 2010, she said her abiding principle as a restaurant owner had always been to promote local produce, whether in North or Central Otago.

”Food is part of our identity and cultural heritage and the aim to keep the connection between the food we eat and the land [and] ocean it comes from preserves, supports and promotes a sustainable system.

”So it is great to be recognised at the grass-roots level for my contribution to this industry.”

Ms Sullivan is also a member of the New Zealand Restaurant Association’s Hall of Fame.

The award could also have been given for services to tourism.

Fleurs Place attracts visitors from all around New Zealand and the world.

The food lives up to its reputation for quality and freshness but Fleur is also a vital ingredient in the restaurant’s success.

Other southern rural people honoured include:

Emeritus Prof Roger Field, Wanaka, for services to education and land-based industries.

Emeritus Prof Roger Field has had a 41-year involvement with Lincoln University, where he promoted agriculture and the land-based industries of New Zealand as vice-chancellor. . .

Geoffrey Watts Neilson, Mosgiel, for services to agriculture.

Geoff Neilson (70) played a leading role in the eradication of the hydatids disease in New Zealand. . .

Peter Thomas Cummings, Lawrence, for services to agriculture and the community.

For about 50 years, Peter Cummings (70) has been ”very much” involved in serving his community. . .

Another recipient of an honour from the south is Dunedin poet Diane Brown who received an ONZM for services to writing and education.

. . . Brown has a long-standing voluntary involvement with the New Zealand Society of Authors (NZSA) and has tutored a wide range of creative writing courses.

She was creative writing co-ordinator and tutor at Aoraki Polytechnic from 2001 to 2011, taught creative writing courses at Paremoremo Prison and recently established Creative Writing Otago – an online creative writing school. Brown has published six books, including Before the Divorce we go to Disneyland (1997), Eight Stages of Grace (2002) and Here Comes Another Vital Moment (2006).

She has won the Michael King Writer’s Studio Inaugural Residential Fellowship (2005), the Montana Book Awards Best First Book of Poetry for Before the Divorce we go to Disneyland and the Buddle Findlay Sargeson Fellowship (1997) and was a finalist in the Montana Book Awards in 2003.

She also won the 2012 Janet Frame Memorial Award.

The south gained a new knight in the New Year’s honours list – Julian Smith, OBE is now Sir Julian.

The Dunedin businessman – the chairman and managing director of Allied Press, publisher of the Otago Daily Times – has been made a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to business. . .

Like most other successful business people he is also a philanthropist.

The full honours list is here.

Rural recipients, or those with rural links include:

Mr Mark Wiremu Solomon, of Christchurch. For services to Māori and business who was also knighted.

Mr John Kenneth Buck, OBE, of Havelock North. For services to the wine industry and the arts, CNZM.

Dr Philip Seabrook Yates, of Auckland. For services to agribusiness, ONZM.

Mr Ian Trevor Corney, of Taumarunui. For services to agriculture, MNZM.

Mr John Graham Hartnell, of Christchurch. For services to the community and beekeeping, MNZM.

Professor Vincent Ernest Neall, of Palmerston North. For services to Earth science, MNZM.

Mr Peter James Ombler, of Te Puke. For services to the kiwifruit industry, MNZM.

Mr John Raymond Wheeler, of New Plymouth. For services to the horse racing industry, MNZM.

Mr Ross Malcolm Gordon, of Methven. For services to Land Search and Rescue, QSO.

Mr Noel Dawson Anderson, of Riverton. For services to the Coastguard, QSO.

Mr Raymond Baker, of Auckland. For services to the Jewish community and the racing industry, QSO.

Mr Warren David Barker, of Fairlie. For services to the community, QSO.

Mr Frederick Charles Cooper, of Gore. For services to the community, QSO.

Mrs Mavis Jessie Davidson, of Owaka. For services to the community, QSO.

Chief Fire Officer Raymond Peter Dever, of Tolaga Bay. For services to the New Zealand Fire Service, QSO.

Chief Fire Officer Ian Moffat Lindsay, of Winton. For services to the New Zealand Fire Service, QSO.

Chief Fire Officer Robert James Lunn, of Greymouth. For services to the New Zealand Fire Service, QSO.

Every time the New Year and Queens Birthday honours are announced people think of those not included who would be at least as deserving.

Anyone can nominate someone for an honour.

Information on how to nominate someone and a link to the nomination form are here.

I have made two nominations.

One was successful the other, equally deserving and supported by references by a wide range of people, was not.

I am sure it had nothing to do with the worth of the nominee and everything to do with the then-government’s view of my political links.

I am pleased that this government sees beyond politics when recommending recipients of honours.


Fleur

30/12/2011

Her restaurant is called Fleurs Place (without an apostrophe) and it is Fleur who makes it special.

We’ve never had a bad meal there but the ones when she is there are better. Her personality makes it more than just a very good restaurant with wonderful food and good service.

That personality shines through in her autobiography, Fleur, the life and times of pioneering restaurateur Fleur Sullivan.

She was a woman ahead of her time in her appreciation of the importance of history and heritage; her enthusiasm for good local food and the part it plays in tourism; and also in setting up and running businesses while bringing up her children.

The book chronicles her adventures and ventures in business and life neither of which have been without their challenges.

It is a fascinating and inspiring read generously supplemented with photographs, including many recent ones by Aaron McLean.

 

Fleur, the life and times of pioneering restaurateur Fleur Sullivan,  with Nathlaie Brown, published by Random House.


Two talented women

30/04/2010

One of North Otago’s talented women, restauranter Fleur Sullivan, was captured in a sylised portrait by another, Donna Demente.

The painting was joint runner up in the biennial Adam Portraiture Award.

image of contestant 


Recipe for success of Oamaru Wine & Food festival

15/02/2009

Take 36 purveyors of fine food and wine, pour into the beautiful Oamaru public gardens .

Heat to optimal temperature with sunshine, tempered by a gentle easterly breeze. 

Pour in plenty of people and allow to mellow under blue sky.

febrero-0251

Add chef’s secrets from Bevan Smith of Riverstone Kitchen  and Fleur Sullivan of  Fleurs Place seasoned with wine producers’ tales from Jim Jerram of Ostler Vinyard.

Spice with music from  Boh Runga , Barry Saunders, The Rollicks, The Eastern and Spotless.

Relax, enjoy and thank those who made another  Oamaru Wine & Food Festival  such fun.


Book launch at Fleurs Place

28/09/2008

Take the place  which has put Moeraki on the map;

Pour in as many people as it can fit, spill extras outside.

Stir with a live musician.

Top up with fine wine including a delightful pinot gris from Ostler.

Add kai moana platters:

Add author Paul Sorrell, photogrpaher Graham Warman, the main character in the book, Fleur Sullivan and the book itself:


Fleur chats to Kim

27/09/2008

The book Fleurs Place by Graham Warman and Paul Sorrell, published by Penguin is being launched at Fleurs Place tomorrow.

Fleur chatted to Kim Hill this morning, you can listen to it here.


Kai moana

17/09/2008

Charmian Smith interviews Moeraki’s queen of cuisine Fleur Sullivan as a preview to the launch of the book Fleurs Place by Graham Warman and Paul Sorrell here.

At risk of trespassing on Roarprawn’s territory, I can recommend the kai moana platter to which Fleur refers. It’s a tasting selection of whatever’s fresh that day  which is mana for seafood fans and a great way to introduce less adventurous diners to a wide variety of fish and seafood.


Wee towns coming back to life

03/09/2008

Country towns which nearly died during the 80s ag-sag are getting new leases of life for a variety of reasons.

Improvements in technology enable people to run their businesses from almost anywhere. A couple who live near us make a very good living from importing goods and selling them on Trade Me.

Changes in land use from extensive sheep and beef farming to more intensive dairying, horticulture and viticulture have created more jobs and brought more people into country districts which flows through in to the wee towns.

Tourist ventures such as the Central Otago Rail Trail  and the Banks Peninsula Track  bring visitors which creates opportunities for the provisions of food, accomodation and retail.

And sometimes the arrival of a new business is the catalyst which brings a wee town to life. Fleur Sullivan did it for Moeraki when she opened her cafe there and now Jo Seagar has done it for Oxford.  

A group of us went to Jo’s cooking school last year. She told us their first year had gone much better than they’d budgeted for and it was easy to see why. After enjoying the cooking lesson and meal we all bought something at the homeware store on our way out.

But it’s not just the Seagars who are doing well, their business has brought people into their new home town which has created opportunities for other businesses. One of which is Emmas at Oxford a book, gift and gourmet essentials store which Jo encouraged us to visit before we left town.

TV3 profiled Jo and her impact on Oxford. You can read about it and watch the video here.


%d bloggers like this: