In February this year New Zealand Mānuka Group was, once again, given the opportunity to support ‘Sunshine & A Plate’ – an annual food festival held in Whakatane which also raises funds and awareness for Hospice Eastern Bay of Plenty. 

This is the second year of what is fast becoming an iconic event for the Eastern Bay of Plenty, and the second year New Zealand Mānuka Group has been involved.  In 2016, 250g jars of Melora Mānuka Honey were donated to be included in the ‘Sunshine & A Plate’ gift boxes as well as providing tours of our Awakeri processing facility.

“The feedback to our special food tour in 2016 was very positive, and was suggested that we should include this on alternate years,” explains Rosemary Sloman, festival organiser and Community Relationship Development, Hospice EBOP.  “This year we asked for New Zealand Mānuka Group’s involvement in an educational capacity through a showcase video presenting all aspects of their operation as a prelude to our Masterclass Chef series and the opening night with our partner sponsors.”

Immediately after the presentation New Zealand Mānuka Group ran a business card draw for all sponsor representatives.  Sharon Seales from the Whakatane Liberty Centre was the lucky winner of a $250 gift hamper including UMF 5+ Mānuka honey Mānuka blend honey, lemon lozenge pouch, orange flavoured lozenge 12pk box, Mānuka with almond oil, Mānuka Secrets hand crème, Mānuka Secrets lip lustre.

The ‘Sunshine & A Plate’ food festival included 31 separate events over 10 days, from the opening sponsors evening on February 17th through to a very special parakuihi (breakfast) on the closing day, February 26th.

Rosemary explains further, “Sunshine week has been developed to showcase and champion all that is grown, gathered and produced in our region; to encourage national and international visitors into the area; to provide a sustainable funding stream to ensure our Hospice services can be accessed across the Eastern Bay of Plenty; and to grow pride in the diversity of our region.”

This year, the fesitval attracted visitors from all over New Zealand as well as international visitors from Hawaii, UK and Canada.

Images below: (Top) Ingrid McNiven from NZ Mānuka Group giving the company presentation (Bottom) Ingrid McNiven and business card draw winner Sharan Seales