Christchurch’s event powerhouse Vbase has won ‘Best Food Experience’ at the New Zealand Event Awards for its catering at TEDxChristchurch 2019: Tūrangawaewae—A Place of Belonging, at Christchurch Town Hall.

The hāngī lunch, which used the newly-constructed hāngi pits in the Town Hall’s neighbouring Commons site, ensured 1400 guests were safely and quickly served in just 10 minutes. All produce was locally and ethically sourced, responsibly harvested, and produced in house by the Vbase kitchen team in collaboration with Ngāi Tūāhuriri, through their subsidiary Matapopore.

Both attendees and award judges said this was the best demonstration of inclusive biculturalism they had ever seen at an event.

Vbase chief executive Caroline Harvie-Teare said the award reflects Vbase’s deep connection to its local culture, food and people, and is a wonderful example of the social, cultural and economic impact of its ‘celebrate and source local’ procurement strategy.

“An inclusive and planned approach with Matapopore, TEDxChristchurch and Vbase allowed us to design a food experience to celebrate mahinga kai, the interconnected beliefs and practices relating to the environment and gathered food,” she said

“With our client TEDxChristchurch and partners, we demonstrated a true sense of collaboration with our community, our local producers and our iwi which culminated in a totally sustainable experience enjoyed by everyone involved.”

The menu had two options: kaimoana and kaivegan. Kaimoana offered fresh local seafood from Gravity Fishing, Akaroa Salmon and mussels from Banks Peninsula.

Kaivegan featured grains from Milmore Downs, a certified BioGrow farm in North Canterbury, and addressed the dietary requirements of most attendees. Fresh braeburn apples were available all day, direct from crate, grown only five kilometeres away.

No plastic single-use serveware was on site and all waste was sorted into three streams to increase landfill diversion.