The Dominion Post

Hospitalit­y sector lights up the capital

- Kate Green

Keep an eye out for Wellington-themed meals in your favourite restaurant­s, and world-class entertaine­rs on stages this week, as the curtain rises on a brand-new foodie festival.

Eat, Drink, Play will run for 10 days, from today until May 16, and celebrates the city’s food and beverage scene with over 100 venues, some creating Wellington-themed meal and drink pairings, world-class entertainm­ent and events, and exclusive accommodat­ion offers from Wellington’s hotels.

Hospitalit­y NZ chief executive Julie White said it was the first time the industry body had created a festival, in response to the challenge of Covid-19.

Hospitalit­y had a wide effect on the local economy.

‘‘Twenty-five per cent of New Zealand’s horticultu­re revenue is generated from sales to New Zealand restaurant­s and there is a huge focus on showcasing local produce in this festival,’’ White said. ‘‘Venues are also major employers, hiring staff and paying for entertaine­rs. When hospitalit­y is doing well, we are all doing well.’’

The festival aligned perfectly with the opening of the trans-Tasman bubble, ‘‘the cherry on top’’.

At last night’s festival launch held at the

Wharewaka Function Centre, Rongotai MP Paul Eagle welcomed the collaborat­ion of restaurant­s and the entertainm­ent sector.

‘‘It’s called Eat, Drink and Play. I love those words. It’s much better than pipes, lights and fights.’’

Wellington City Council deputy mayor Sarah Free said there was a lot of talent in Wellington. ‘‘We also have a lot of goodwill for making things better.’’

Wellington­NZ chief executive John Allen said the event would bring energy and pulse into the city. ‘‘But it’s more than just that. It’s jobs, jobs for people in our hospitalit­y industry that have been doing it rather hard last year. It’s money in the pockets of people in the city. It’s money in the pockets of food growers around our region. It creates all kinds of opportunit­y.’’

President of the Wellington branch of Hospitalit­y NZ Paul Retimanu, who runs several hospitalit­y establishm­ents in the city, said Wellington­ians had responded amazingly well to recent events.

Eat, Drink, Play received $100,000 from the Government’s Covid-19 recovery

fund, and is a collaborat­ion between Hospitalit­y NZ, Wellington­NZ, and the Wellington City Council.

White said events ranged from Dirty Little Drag Bingo, where some ‘‘natural performers’’ would be running the competitio­n, to a Psychic Supper at Leroy’s, where guests would receive an insightful psychic reading with their meal.

For one night only, renowned Press Hall chicken specialist Lucky is going vegan, and The Iron Horse in Miramar dives into the world of Burlesque, which is nearly sold out.

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Iron Horse
 ??  ?? Spark and Flare added some heat to the opening last night of Wellington’s newest festival, Eat, Drink, Play.
Spark and Flare added some heat to the opening last night of Wellington’s newest festival, Eat, Drink, Play.

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