Ngāpuhi butchers get their knives out for national title

By Jessica Tyson
Riki Kerekere and Cherise Redden. Source: File.

Two Ngāpuhi butchers are hoping to win a national title at the Alto Butcher and ANZCO Foods Butcher Apprentice of Year competition in Auckland tonight.

A total of eight apprentice butchers and six master butchers from all around the country will go head-to-head in their respective competitions.

That includes the reigning national master butcher champion, Riki Kerekere and his apprentice Cherise Redden. Both are from Ngāpuhi.

Last year Redden came second at nationals.  This year she has her eyes on gold.

“I’m excited, she says, “It’s something I never expected to do just from working in butchery.  It just opens a lot of opportunities. It turns a trade into a career path.”

As part of the event, competitors will have two hours to prepare a table of meat cuts, including chicken, boneless beef rump and pork loin.

“We've got pork, beef and chicken and we have a mystery cut that we don’t know until five minutes before the competition starts.”

Kerekere, also from Te Aitanga-a-Mahaki, says he’s nervous but excited for his two apprentices taking part, “I know they’re going to do well.”

"It’s going to be a bit different for me because this year they're doing all mystery cuts so we don’t know what we're getting and I think that concept is fantastic.  It really challenges you.” 

The grand final prize for the winner of the Alto Butcher of the Year is an all-expenses-paid international butchery study tour, a trophy, and a knife set. 

The runner-up of the Alto Butcher category will win a cash prize of $1,500 and knife set. 

The awards ceremony will take place at Auckland’s Shed 10 from 7pm on Thursday, August 8.