The inaugural Rotorua Summer Seafood Festival has been a hit this weekend with over 1000 tickets sold. The festival's main backers are Te Arawa Fisheries Group and local Rotorua businesses.
Food from the sea cooked or served raw. Te Arawa fisheries made sure that they had all aspects of the festival covered before they put it up as a serious proposal.
Head of Te Kotahitanga o Te Arawa, Shane Heremaia says, "From Maketū to Matatā on our shoreline, seafood is what we love so the thought was to run this festival to celebrate what we have in Te Arawa."
Cooking pies began as a hobby for Joe Dorset. He added cream pāua and it became a hit in Rotorua. Today he was at the festival along with his prized cream pāua pies.
Joe Dorset (Ngāi Tūhoe) says, "Very happy to be here for the inaugural festival I see it something that is going to grow into something much bigger in the future happy to have my foot in the door for the first one hopefully they will have me back next year."
2015 My Kitchen Rule contestants Jay Wanakore and Sarah Chase live in Auckland. But this weekend they left the city lights to come to Rotorua.
Wanakore (Waikato) says, "It's good to come here to Te Arawa. It's a beautiful day, the sun is out and the food is delicious!"
The seafood industry brings in $4bil to the New Zealand economy every year.
Te Arawa are building their contribution to those earnings and today's event will help them raise their market profile.