Daylight saving has passed, and after adjusting to the loss of an hour’s sleep, we can now start to properly enjoy the long and hopefully balmy evenings that mean summer will soon be here. Here’s to time spent with whānau and friends on sun-drenched beaches, at backyard BBQs or out on walks in the bush. 

Here’s also to the triumphant return of Aotearoa New Zealand’s seafood festivals, many of which were forced to postpone or reschedule over the past few years. Temporarily down, but not out, this spring and summer they’ll be rreturning in style to once again share the bounty of our oceans with people from around the motu.

We kicked off with the Whitianga Oceans Festival, which was back on 9 September. Festivalgoers flocked to the Coromandel in their best fancy dress to celebrate with cooking demonstrations from celebrity chefs, fresh-caught Coromandel kaimoana – oysters, kina, butterfish and more – wine pairings and music. A few weeks later, the Port Chalmers Seafood Festival kicked off on 30 September showcasing the region’s fresh-as southern clams, crayfish and whitebait; a fillet demonstration by Harbour Fish; bespoke brews; and other family-friendly entertainment. 

Coming up

If you missed out on September’s events, here are others for you to look forward to over the next few months, with more to be announced soon:

  • Toast Martinborough is back on 19 November, spread across several of the region’s esteemed vineyards. Wine might be the initial draw, but the kai is no slouch either, and Seafood Sustainability Award finalists Claire Edwards and Troy Bramley of Tora Collective will have some stellar Wairarapa crayfish BBQ on offer
  • The Twizel Salmon & Wine Festival on 24 February 2024 will bring thousands to the shores of Lake Ruataniwha for local salmon, boutique wine and craft beer, music and a full day of fun. 
  • You may then wish to hang around for the week in Te Waipounamu, with the Havelock Mussel & Seafood Festival confirmed for Saturday 16 March. Expect lightning-fast shucking competitions, more Greenshell™ mussels than you could possibly eat and a great day out.