In no way deterred by being 12,000 miles from home, 150 of New Zealand’s finest expatriates came together at Plaisterers’ Hall for the annual Waitangi Day Dinner last Friday. A bank holiday in New Zealand, the event commemorates the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840 declaring the country part of the British Empire and giving rights to the native Maori people.

Organised by the New Zealand Society, the event showcased the very finest in New Zealand wines and cuisine. Authentic Kiwi suppliers readily offered up various foodstuffs which included green-lipped mussel canapés, a venison carpaccio starter, lamb rumps for the main course and even delicious ‘hokey pokey’ chunks to churn into a secret recipe ice cream.

The evening saw a performance from the mesmerising Maori group Ngati Ranana. The atmosphere in the Great Hall was electrifying, inspiring one guest to rise from his chair and perform the renowned Haka at his table – much to the delight/shock of his fellow diners!

The role of Master of Ceremonies undertaken by New Zealander Lotto presenter Hilary Timmins and compered by ‘Mock The Week’ regular Jarred Christmas, there was no doubting the country taking centre stage for the night.

A high point in the evening came at the time of announcing the ‘UK New Zealander of the Year’ Award. Kent Gardner, Chief Executive of Evans Randall, was given the honour in recognition of the £325k he helped raise following the devastating earthquake in Christchurch.

Coverage of the event was shown on National news and you can see the full bulletin here:

http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/uk-award-chch-earthquake-fundraiser-4716806