Winter F.A.W.C! 2022

Sir Graeme Avery named F.A.W.C!’s first Hawke’s Bay Legend

Hawke’s Bay Tourism, in conjunction with Cuisine Magazine, is delighted to announce the inaugural F.A.W.C! Hawke’s Bay Legend is Sir Graeme Avery.

Sir Graeme – along with fellow nominees Sam and Mary Orton, Kate Radburnd, Jeremy Rameka and Kim Thorp – were to be honoured at an event on the opening night of Summer F.A.W.C! at The Old Church. The January event could not go ahead due to the move to ‘red’ on the Covid-19 Protection Framework.

From an incredible field of dedicated and talented food and beverage stars, Sir Graeme’s expansive and long-lasting impact on and amplification of Hawke’s Bay’s reputation as New Zealand’s premier food and wine destination saw him named the inaugural F.A.W.C! Hawke’s Bay Legend.

Sir Graeme has received a stunning award made by traditional Māori carver Phil Belcher.

Sam and Mary Orton, Kate Radburnd, Jeremy Rameka and Kim Thorp have been presented with smaller pounamu carvings from Phil Belcher.

Sir Graeme said he was honoured and thrilled to receive the inaugural F.A.W.C! Hawke’s Bay Legends Award and will treasure the Māori carved trophy by Phil Belcher.

“The award reflects the support of all the great people I have worked with in establishing the Hawke’s Bay Food Group, Hawke’s Bay Wine Country Tourism, the New Zealand Food and Wine Tourism Marketing Network, and Sileni winery and visitor centre.

“Thank you to Cuisine and Hawke’s Bay Tourism for sponsoring the award and congratulations to all the other nominees, all of whom I greatly respect and know, and have worked with over the past years. Keep up the great work for the region,” he added.

Sir Graeme Avery is well known as the co-founder of Sileni Estates winery and as a founder of the acclaimed Hawke’s Bay Farmers’ Market, which was instrumental in mobilising the national farmers’ market movement. He also led the formation of the original Hawke’s Bay Wine Country Tourism Association and has worked informally with Ngati Kahungnunu on potential projects throughout the years.

Hawke’s Bay Tourism, who announced the search for a Food Legend last year, established the award as a means to honour those visionaries who have helped shape Food and Wine Country into the amazing playground for foodies that it is today. The talent recognised within last summer’s nomination process ran the gamut of artisan producers, chefs, restaurateurs, winemakers, farmers and growers – and included event specialists, innovators and entrepreneurs within the food and drink category.

The six finalists and eventual winner were chosen by a panel that comprised Sarah Meikle, Chief Executive of Wellington Culinary Events Trust, Kelli Brett, Editor at Cuisine Magazine, and George Hickton, Chairman of Hawke’s Bay Tourism.

It was difficult to name just one ‘legend’ for the inaugural award, says Kelli Brett of Cuisine Magazine.

"Each and every one of our finalists have made a lasting, momentous impact on the landscape of food tourism – not just in Hawke’s Bay, but across New Zealand,” says Brett.

“By creating this award, Hawke’s Bay Tourism have recognised that the people behind what we cook, eat and drink are the true drivers of the New Zealand food & drink story and a super-important ingredient in the mix. They are the movers and shakers that have led their communities, inspiring and motivating the good people of their towns to step up, collaborate and get involved. So much work from so many passionate and dedicated visionaries has gone into making Hawke’s Bay into the amazing playground for foodies that it is today.

“It is so very clear that Sir Graeme has been and still is a great inspiration and a key motivator within so many layers of the development of Food and Wine Country,” she says.

Hawke’s Bay Tourism Chief Executive Hamish Saxton say the award will become a regular component within the Summer F.A.W.C! festival.

“Every year we celebrate Hawke’s Bay food, wine, beverages, chefs, artisans, leaders and producers during F.A.W.C!, and Hawke’s Bay Legends will be now be a important component of that. We hope to recognise those people whose talent and hard work have contributed to this delicious landscape that we have the pleasure to work within today.”

The award finalists were nominated for their extensive work and talent, with written nominations saying:

  • For Sam & Mary Orton: “Where we are heading now – celebrating Hawke’s Bay’s growers and producers outdoors under some sort of shade with a glass of wine in one hand and a delicious bite-sized something in the other – all started with Orton.”
  • For Kate Radburnd: “Kate works hard every day to lead, inspire and advocate for Hawke’s Bay and the wine industry. I can think of no better person to be acknowledged as a Hawke’s Bay Legend.”
  • For Jeremy Rameka: “In creating Pacifica all those years ago, Jeremy also reminded us of our special place in the world, and his food always reflects that.”
  • And for Kim Thorp: “A true pioneer with the establishment of Black Barn and its wine, food and accommodation offerings that are of supreme quality.”

Sir Graeme Avery’s purpose-made sculpture combines matai wood, salvaged from the Tukituki River and cut to represent the iconic silhouette of Te Kauwae-a-Māui / Cape Kidnappers landform, says Phil Belcher. The sculpture includes a pounamu in the shape of Te Matau-a-Māui, a fishhook, while the full piece is a symbol of Māui’s tenacity and innovation ‘fishing up’ (navigating to) Aotearoa’s islands, he says.

Further information about the award, finalists and winner can be found at