The Rees - True South

Media Release | Taste of New Zealand

Tuesday, 4 October 2011
Media Release: MEDIAWEB

Four establishments awarded for culinary leadership


The first Premier award winners have been named in the inaugural TONZA programme, rewarding leadership in the creation of a New Zealand culinary identity. Already respected as some of the finest dining establishments in the country, the first four Premier award winners reflect the intention of the Taste of New Zealand Awards (TONZA) programme to identify professional efforts to utilise local raw materials.

The Premier award is the highest achievable TONZA and recognises leadership in innovation of the highest culinary and service standards around the country. They are… the finest expression of their regional food resources.

The 2011 Premier Award winning establishments are allocated according to the general regions in which they operate. They are;

  • TRUE SOUTH DINING ROOM at the Rees Hotel, Queenstown for the southern region of the South Island, Chef Ben Batterbury.
  • RESTAURANT SCHWASS, Christchurch for the northern region of the South Island, Chef Jonny Schwass.
  • THE FARM, at Cape Kidnappers, Hawkes Bay for the southern region, North Island, Chef Tim Pickering.
  • TE WHAU VINEYARD RESTAURANT, Waiheke Island for the northern region, North Island. Chef Marco Edwardes

The TONZA programme has been designed by publishing house, Mediaweb to create awareness of regional products and resources through exposure in hospitality establishments by fostering an awareness and pride in New Zealand’s great local produce. Mediaweb publishes leading professional food and beverage magazines including Hospitality, grill, FBT, Catering Plus, Wine Technology, FMCG and the on line news service, Foodnews.

“It is appropriate that we launch this initiative at a time when the whole country is hosting visitors experiencing the richness of our food producing regions,” says Mediaweb CEO, Toni Myers. “While we acknowledge that our professional culinary standards have improved enormously in recent years, we believe it is time to encourage more pride in New Zealand’s food character, both to the advantage of our important food and hospitality industries, and the enrichment of the whole community.”

As well as the Premier Awards, for which the winners will receive a sophisticated artwork produced by Denis O’Connor that can be proudly displayed in their establishments, TONZA will also make 45 other awards to restaurants, cafĂ©s and food producers for their fine expressions of regionality.

These awards will be made every two years, and the winners will be promoted via electronic and general media to the travelling public as opportunities to experience regional culinary identity. The four establishments named above will also be represented in a TONZA kitchen at the Taste New Zealand Festival being held in Auckland in the week prior to the Rugby World Cup final.

Each chef has created two dishes which will be served to guests who visit the TONZA kitchen are at the festival, with all four chefs on hand to discuss their culinary contributions.


For further details contact:

MEDIAWEB, Toni Myers 09 372 4445