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Further recognition for individuals and businesses making a difference

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The Restaurant Association have acknowledged those who have been influential and made a significant contribution to the hospitality industry in response to 2020’s Covid-19 pandemic with the announcement of the Restaurant Association Resilience Awards winners for Queenstown, Waikato, Taranaki, Manawatu and Hawke’s Bay regions.

Presented by the Restaurant Association of New Zealand and Association partners Eftpos NZ, OneMusic and RA Lexis ComplyHub, these regional resilience awards recognise those people and businesses that have gone above and beyond to keep their people employed, help their communities and keep their businesses alive all whilst playing their part in stamping out the virus.

180 degree pivots won over the judges in the Eftpos NZ innovation awards.

In Manawatu the award went to the Blind Finch in Ohakune for transforming its once popular hamburger joint and bar into a fully operational bakery.

Seeing the writing on the wall for restaurants and bars, owner Derek Allomes, devised a plan seeing the new national operational requirements as a unique opportunity. Derek’s plan to become an essential service has won over the locals with its freshly baked bread becoming a daily favourite.

Queenstown innovation winner Fishbone exchanged fresh fish for fried chicken becoming Love Chicken while borders remain closed.

The restaurant had previously derived 75 per cent of its income from international visitors but was struggling to sell enough to the local community to maintain freshness. The owner reinvigorated a former fried chicken business and Love Chicken was born.

Waikato winner Good George shifted their entire operation from beer and gin production to hand sanitiser.

Kristy Gregory, Eftpos NZ, acknowledged the winners, “We are passionate about hospitality and its people and proud to be supporting the industry at a time when they need it the most. New Zealand just wouldn’t be the same without the cafes, restaurants and bars where we grab our morning flat whites, quick midday bite to eat and cheeky after work bevvies. We are honoured to be able to acknowledge and recognise the people and businesses who have innovated and adapted in the most challenging of times”.

Those that rallied around for their local communities were recognised in the RA Lexis ComplyHub Outstanding Local Hospo Hero award.

When Hawkes Bay restaurant owner James Beck decided to create a home delivery business for his restaurant Bistronomy, he went one step further, pulling together an expert team of developers and designers to create Hawkes Bay at home – a resource for all hospitality business owners in the region.

Waikato award recipient Montana Events and Catering worked with the local council to serve up 65 thousand meals to those in need during the pandemic.

Max Flinkenberg, RA Lexis ComplyHub says, “We are excited to support the hospitality industry and recognise the success of those contributing to the liveliness of hospitality across the country. We know first hand that when you put information into the right hands you give people the power to shape the world. Congratulations to all our local hospo heroes for your resourcefulness and commitment to the hospitality industry”.   

Regional recipients of the OneMusic Outstanding Community Spirit were quick to redeploy staff and repurpose food to feed those in need.

Taranaki winner Rahul Radharkrishnan of Bach on Bluewater put together low cost lunchboxes for essential workers delivering them to hospitals and workplaces around the region.

Food rescue service Just Zilch were the recipients of the Manawatu award for working closely with the hospitality industry throughout the pandemic to repurpose food to feel local people in need.

Restaurant Association CEO Marisa Bidois says, “Over the year we’ve been overwhelmed by some of the stories we’ve heard – of people and businesses around the country with amazing community spirit; those who have innovated and changed; and those who have found silver linings in the most challenging of times”.

“It has never been more important for diners to get out and try the fantastic array of local dining spots, so we hope these awards inspire the nation to support their locals.”

Greer Davies, Director of OneMusic said “If there’s been one silver lining from 2020, it’s been the privilege of witnessing the spirit, compassion and manaakitanga shown by people and businesses, both large and small. It hasn’t been an easy ride, and like the hospitality sector, the music community has been massively impacted this year. Thanks for making things a little easier for your community and congratulations.

The winners for these regions were announced online on Monday, 7 December*

*Wellington and Canterbury awards were announced as part of the Wellington and Canterbury Hospitality Awards held on 2nd and 3rd November. Auckland winners were announced on 16th November.

Restaurant Association Resilience Awards Winners


  • Eftpos NZ Outstanding Innovation – Good George Brewery
  • OneMusic Outstanding Community Spirit – Hayes Common
  • RA Lexis ComplyHub Outstanding Local Hospo Hero – Montana Events & Catering


  • Eftpos NZ Outstanding Innovation – Matt Cooper, Social Eats
  • OneMusic Outstanding Community Spirit – Scope Cafe Restaurant Association
  • RA Lexis ComplyHub Outstanding Local Hospo Hero – Ray Singh, Indian Star Tandoori Restaurant


  • Eftpos NZ Outstanding Innovation – Barbara Olsen-Henderson, Lemonwood Eatery
  • OneMusic Outstanding Community Spirit – Rahul Radhakrishnan, Bach on Breakwater
  • RA Lexis ComplyHub Outstanding Local Hospo Hero – Craig & Kate Macfarlane, Macfarlane Consulting Group and Strategy Collective

Hawke’s Bay

  • Eftpos NZ Outstanding Innovation – Malo Restaurant
  • OneMusic Outstanding Community Spirit – Jeremy Bayliss, PAK Asian Kitchen, Westshore Beach Inn, Rogue Hop, Napier Brewing, Econo Lodge
  • RA Lexis ComplyHub Outstanding Local Hospo Hero – James Beck of Bistronomy for ‘Hawke’s Bay at Home’


  • Eftpos NZ Outstanding Innovation – The Blind Finch, Ohakune
  • OneMusic Outstanding Community Spirit – Just Zilch
  • RA Lexis ComplyHub Outstanding Local Hospo HeroScott and Yvette Kennedy, Nero Restaurant


  • Eftpos NZ Outstanding Innovation – Fishbone / Love Chicken
  • OneMusic Outstanding Community Spirit – Fusee Rouge Café, Cromwell
  • RA Lexis ComplyHub Outstanding Local Hospo Hero – Grant Hattaway, Blue Kanu and Hattaway Consulting Group


  • Restaurant Association of NZ Outstanding Innovation – At Yours by Visa Wellington On a Plate
  • Restaurant Association of NZ Outstanding Community Spirit – Kāpura
  • Nova Energy Outstanding Local Hospo Hero – Jackie Lee Morrison, The Pandemic Pack


  • Restaurant Association of NZ Outstanding Innovation – Riverside Market owners Kris Inglis, Mike Percasky and Richard Peebles
  • Restaurant Association of NZ Outstanding Community Spirit – The Vagabond Chefs
  • Nova Energy Outstanding Local Hospo Hero – Tristin Anderson, Smokey T’s


  • Loaded Reports Outstanding Innovation – Paris Butter at Home
  • Restaurant Association of NZ Outstanding Community SpiritSid and Chand Sahrawat – Sidart, Cassia and Sid at The French Café
  • Nova Energy Outstanding Local Hospo Hero – Krishna Botica
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