Latest News



The Northland hospitality industry acknowledged the outstanding abilities of its own with the announcement of the winners last night.

The inaugural awards recognise the outstanding hospitality professionals, all of whom are making a positive impact on the local café and dining scene. The Restaurant Association of New Zealand are proud to organise and foster these Awards with the main purpose being to unite, grow and promote the Northland hospitality industry.

Known for its rustic pizzas, Hone’s Garden won two of the top accolades winning Gilmours Supreme Award and the Whangārei District Love It Here! Outstanding Local Establishment proving just how popular it is.

The Cove Cafe took out the People’s Choice award. The recipient of this award is selected by the local dining public. Owned by former UK lawyer Lloyd Rooney and Kiwi farmer Mike Fraser, Cove Café has a gate to plate philosophy serving beef and lamb straight from their farm, making it a hot spot on the coast for tourists and locals alike.

An area of outstanding natural beauty, there is no shortage of great places to get a drink in the region.

Outstanding bar of the year went to The Tipsy Oyster in Paihia. A tapas bar and restaurant all combined it offers fresh local tapas and fusion tapas to locals and tourists alike.

There was recognition for those working in the industry too with outstanding front of house team going to the Quay in Whangarei and Marcus Berndt of Terra Restaurant picking up the award for outstanding chef.

Sage Restaurant, Paroa Bay Winery was recognised as the outstanding restaurant of the year.

Marisa Bidois, CEO Restaurant Association of New Zealand says “It’s been a very tough year for our industry which makes it all the more important to recognise our successes.

“With a growing population that swells in the summer months, the region’s hospitality establishments play an important role in entertaining and hosting guests.”

“As an industry it’s so important that we take time out to celebrate our success and acknowledge our achievements. We believe it’s important to shine a light on our industry and make sure we are recognised for the contribution we make to our community and economy.

With all categories keenly contested, this year’s winners truly exemplify what it means to be at the top of their respective categories.”

Leah Greenall, Sales and Operations Manager of Gilmours Northland said “The Northland hospitality industry is changing all the time. Everywhere in Northland you go there is a beautiful place to eat, drink and look at the scenery, it just brings people back here time and time again. And with no overseas travel this year, I believe we are going to have a very busy summer in Northland and more New Zealanders will truly get to see what Northland has to offer. I am super excited that these awards are showcasing the amazing talents of all the establishments that work so hard in bringing the community back together.



The finalists have been announced in the inaugural Northland Hospitality awards and represent the top-notch dining establishments in the region as voted by the hospitality industry. 

Popular Asian fusion restaurant No.8 situated in Whangārei’s town basin takes out four nominations for Outstanding Ethnic Restaurant, Ambience & Design as well as accolades for Chef de Partie Reejo Joseph as Emerging Chef and Mike Aldred for Outstanding Bartender. 

Situated within the Wharepuke Subtropical Garden in Kerikeri Māha Restaurant, noted for its fresh, local and seasonal products and a fusion of flavours and cooking techniques is nominated in the categories of Outstanding Restaurant and Front of House Team. 

Whangerei’s The Quay also picks up four nominations including two for its back of house team with Juanita Woodbury and Stephen Pashley both contenders for the award of Outstanding Emerging Chef.

Great cafes are not lacking in the region with Helena Bay Café, Milk and Honey Kamo, Nook Espresso and The Cove Café all receiving nominations in the category of Outstanding Cafe.

Those looking for the region’s best flat white have ample selection with Miles Toto, of Barrow Boys Coffee, Laura Hosznyak of Hello Pickle, Brittany Chez Cox of Nook Espresso and Tom Richardson of Third Wheel Coffee Co. all finalists in the category of Outstanding Barista. 

Those looking for a place to get a great drink also won’t be disappointed with the region’s growing assortment of top-notch bars recognised. 

Pure Bar, Split Bar & Restaurant, The Butter Factory and Tipsy Oyster all receive nominations for the title of Outstanding Bar. 

16 awards will be presented to the best of the Northland hospitality industry. From crew members, to suppliers, to establishments – the best of the best will be celebrated for their contribution to creating a world-class hospitality scene in the region.

CEO Marisa Bidois says, “with its fertile land and subtropical climate, Northland is home to some of New Zealand’s best produce which is expertly prepared and served by the region’s dining establishments. 

“Our industry has had an incredibly challenging year so it’s now even more important that we take time out to recognise those people who showcase our incredible produce and welcome us into their establishments.”

The Northland community is also able to vote for its favourite establishment in the Savour! Northland People’s Choice Award category.

"Savour! Northland supports and promotes Northland's food and beverage industry and is excited to be sponsoring the People's Choice category at Northland’s first Hospitality Awards.

"Through the Regional Business Partnership Programme, we have been able to help a lot of hospitality businesses through the challenges of Covid-19. This is a fantastic way to celebrate their mahi and great timing just after our first local food celebration FEAST 2020. We wish everyone the best of luck," said Joseph Stuart, Northland Inc's General Manager Business Innovation and Growth.

Voting is now open until Friday, 4 September. Winners will be announced on Monday, 14 September at 7.00pm.




Northland’s hospitality industry is to be celebrated at the inaugural Northland Hospitality Awards, an industry event aimed at highlighting the very best of the region.

Established by the Restaurant Association of NZ and Lead Sponsor Gilmours Wholesale Food & Beverage, the Northland Hospitality Awards are an important development for the region to celebrate and promote the excellence of Northland food and beverage offerings.

CEO Marisa Bidois says, “It’s imperative the hospitality industry recognises its champions as it provides not only a peer benchmark for excellence but also serves to give people valuable guidelines on the best places to visit”.

Fifteen award categories, the best of Northland’s hospitality industry – from crew members, to suppliers, to establishments – will be celebrated for their contribution in creating a world-class hospitality industry in the region.

Nominations are now open to the industry until Friday, 31 July. Final voting will begin on Tuesday, 4 August and winners will be revealed on a virtual platform on Monday, 31 August.

The Northland general public are also able to vote for their favourite establishment in the Savour! Northland People’s Choice category award.

The Restaurant Association Hospitality Awards were created to put the spotlight on legendary people and businesses making New Zealand unlike any other culinary destination you’ll find in the world.

Every region in New Zealand is home to hospitality worth celebrating. From fine-dining cuisine, to vibrant food trucks with international flair and the humble hole in the wall you’ll travel miles to experience – our country is flourishing with the best of the best.

The awards are regionally focused, with each region of the country having its awards at a different time of the year.

Nominations are now open until Friday, 7 August. Finalists will be announced on Tuesday, 11 August and final voting will open until Friday, 4 September.

For the first time, the awards will be held via Facebook live stream. Winners will be announced live on our Facebook page on Monday, 14 September at 7.00pm.