Restaurant Association of New Zealand

The winners of the inaugural Rotorua Hospitality Awards 2012

The winners of the inaugural Rotorua Hospitality Awards were announced last night at a Gala dinner at the Novotel Rotorua Lakeside. The Gala dinner sponsored by Waiariki Institute of Technology and Gilmours Rotorua was the first of its kind in Rotorua, with an outstanding amount of support it is set to be the first of many. Over 600 votes were received over the ten categories and tickets to the awards evening sold out within a week.

The awards were a chance for the winners to share their successes with their peers and fellow finalists as well as celebrating being the best in their field. 240 guests were treated to dinner and entertainment by legendary band Cairo, with an after awards party hosted by a local Rotorua nightclub.
A highlight of the evening was a surprise announcement of two Hospitality Icon Awards. Herb Sewell and Leola Walker-Hayes were honoured for their contribution to Rotorua hospitality. Herb says that his first mentor in hospitality told him before entering the trade To succeed in this industry one should aim for ambience, service and quality at all times. You can set a scene to the best of your ability, but you must have a staff of team players to make it happen you cannot do it alone.

Granddaughter Renee Liddell Hayes accepted the award on behalf of Leola and was humbled by the recognition and support expressed by local industry. We are so proud of our Nan and all that she has accomplished within Rotorua hospitality, her students were highly sort after by industry and a lot of them have gone on to lead very successful careers says Renee.

The event was organised by the Restaurant Association of New Zealand Rotorua Committee, made up of six local industry professionals. These awards are a chance to showcase the hospitality industry and reward those that excel in a city which is arguably New Zealands premier tourism destination says Sharon Wallace, Rotorua President. We are looking forward to the 2013 awards and planning is already underway with local and national industry support.

Winners of the Rotorua Hospitality Awards 2012

  • Hospitality Icon sponsored by Destination Rotorua Marketing and Rotorua Economic Development - Herb Sewell, Herbs Place / Leola Walker-Hayes, Arahia Qualitech
  • Outstanding Bar sponsored by MORE FM - Pig & Whistle
  • Outstanding Bartender sponsored by H S I - Malakai Waqanimaravu, Seismic Gastrobar
  • Outstanding Barista sponsored by Skyline Rotorua - Simon Kerr, Zippys
  • Outstanding Caf sponsored by Heinz Watties Food Service Solutions - Picnic Caf
  • Emerging Chef sponsored by Unilever Food Solutions - Johnny Frederick, Seismic Gastrobar
  • Outstanding Chef sponsored by Barkers Fine Foods - Ajay Kumar, Indian Star
  • Outstanding Hotel Restaurant sponsored by Vivreau - Atlas Restaurant, Novotel Rotorua Lakeside
  • Outstanding Restaurant sponsored by APRA and PPNZ - Indian Star
  • Outstanding Supplier sponsored by Restaurant Association of New Zealand - Gilmours Rotorua
  • Outstanding Waiter sponsored by Restaurant Association of New Zealand - Mandeep Singh, Cableway Restaurant, Skyline Rotorua

Issued on behalf of the Restaurant Association. For more information please contact Marisa Bidois on 09 632 1400 or for industry/local comment please contact Sharon Wallace, Rotorua on 027 233 4146