Karamean Foodies Visit Tasman Artisans On Quest for Gastronomic Enlightenment

Off the Top of My Head

By Paul Murray

A group of eight Karameans travelled to the Tasman region on September 26 and 27, 2018,  to visit artisan food processing and production facilities in Nelson and Upper Moutere with the view to establishing similar enterprises in the Karamea region.

The idea is to leverage off our special location and unique growing environment to create a range of value-added processed food products grown here and marketed under a “Karamea” brand to create local employment, improve our economy, promote our region and enhance the resilience of our community in the process.

The tour was coordinated by Nick Dalgety, Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) Senior Advisor for Economic Development and Partnerships Nelson, the group visited cafes, the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT), Little Beauties feijoa and kiwifruit processing plant, the Moutere Artisans group, Peckhams Cidery and Orchard and Thorvald Cheese to gather information and ideas, make contacts and to seek inspiration from what others are doing.

Also on the trip were Development West Coast (DWC) Business Development Manager, Helen Wilson, David Stedfast from Gloriavale Christian Community and Jane Lancaster, a food production consultant from CatalystCatalyst and Dr Joanna Fountain, Senior Lecturer in Tourism at Lincoln University.

The tour began at Deville Café where owner Geoff McLean talked us through the pitfalls and peaks of the café business and discussed how he sources and selects food products like Dobbo’s Manuka Smoked Hot Sauce (made in Westport by Dobbo) for his café, which has been operating for 15 years. Geoff shared his knowledge and experience freely and with considerable candour and served us up a pretty damn good coffee as well.



Geoff Maclean Shares his experience of operating a cafe in Nelson for the past 15 years with the group from Karamea and the greater West Coast. 




Dobbo’s Hot Sauce…Made in Westport



Deville Cafe Staff…Waiting to clean tables after the customers leave….

Just around the corner was the Bridge Street collective where we met with the manager Christine Donaldson, who spoke about the collective power of collaboration and cooperation in getting businesses connected and sharing their respective skills for mutual benefit. She also discussed the process of establishing a weekly market that showcases local produce and artisan products and enables producers to access customers in a cost-effective and fashion that also allows customers to meet the producers and processors of the goods on offer at the market.

Consumers are becoming increasingly interested in the provenance of their food and seeking quality products made by people passionate about their fare rather than mass-produced industrial brands and are prepared to pay a premium price of products of a high standard. The need for such products to be of premium quality was a consistent theme discussed by the presenters. The products need to be top notch to stand out in the market, create word-of-mouth promotion and encourage repeat purchases and brand loyalty from consumers.

Then it was back to school with a stop at NMIT where we met with chefs and educators who briefly outlined food-safety compliance, gave us a tour of their facilities and information about the courses and programmes they offer to do with food, food handling, processing, packaging and marketing. We then had a lovely lunch prepared and delivered to the table by hospitality students at the institute as robust discussion about food continued over lunch.

Nick 1 NMIT

We purchased some ingredients from the market and returned to Nick Dalgety’s home near the Botanical Gardens to make pizza and cook them on his backyard pizza oven. This was also an excellent opportunity for further discussion and brainstorming about the potential for Karamea to have its own brand and range of products that add value to our raw produce and enable a higher return to the growers and food processors living in Karamea by selling our products into more affluent urban gourmet food markets.

The next day, we headed for Moutere. Our first stop was a fruit processing facility that makes Little Beauties dried feijoa, and golden kiwifruit slices dipped in chocolate…We had to sample quite a lot of these for the purpose of product research and quality assurance…Everyone agreed, the products were superb and very delicious!

Owner/Manager Tristan Wasney gave us a frank and detailed talk about the challenges of establishing such a venture and the costs and challenges involved in both producing the product and then getting it to market. We were also able to have a look at the way food handling is done on a commercial scale and also the process of preparing and packaging the final product.


The Old Moutere Post Office was the next stop. There we met with Andrew Sutherland who discussed the establishment of the Moutere Artisans, a collective of artists, food producers and craftspeople who market their wares and fares at the repurposed Old Post Office, which now has a retail shop, café and gallery that displays and sells locally made products instead of stamps and envelopes.

Cameron Woods dropped by during Andrew’s presentation and invited us for lunch at his business Tasteology at the Kahurangi Estate winery cellar door where we were treated to a fine food meal of locally produced cheese, meats, preserves and bread, well matched with wines from the Kahurangi Estate range.


Peckham’s Cidery and Orchard was our next stop, there we met owners Alex and Caroline Peckham and toured both the orchard and the cidery and had a look at the process of making, bottling and labelling their cider and how to package and market the product. Alex openly discussed the challenges of establishing an artisan brand and competing with inferior mass-produced products that are no match in quality but are cheaper on the market. He offered several means of overcoming market resistance to price and shared his frustrations about competing in a market that is somewhat price focussed. The Peckham’s Cider range is an excellent example of a quality product that is far superior to other mass-produced ciders on the market, and we had to sample quite a few cans to be sure of this.


The award-winning Thorvald Cheese was our last stop, and we caught up with our old friend Franzis Kaner, the head cheesemaker at Thorvald. Franzis walked us through the facility and showed us how their sheep’s milk cheese and yoghurt is made, the food safety procedures, quality control and the process of ageing and then packaging and marketing the products. Considerable sampling of the various cheeses was also necessary at this facility, and all agreed, their range was exceptionally good!

The participants were all very impressed, inspired and motivated by the people we met and the facilities we visited and plan to also travel to Canterbury later in the year to visit more food-processors and make additional contacts with people who may be able to assist with the process of establishing similar enterprises here in Karamea.

Each venture we visited, the speaker received a lovely gift set of True Blue Organics products from Hamish and Margaret Macbeth’s business, which demonstrates well that Karamea can produce a quality value-added product and establish a viable business here. Thanks to Hamish and Margaret (and Ema Franken for preparing the gift boxes).

The more food we can produce and process here, the more people we can employ, the more responsible we will become for our own food and financial security and the more resilient we will be in the event of a civil-defence event that takes the road out. If Karamea is able to produce its own food and have a supply of processed and preserved food in stock to cater to the needs of the local population, the better we will cope with such an eventuality.

Thank you also to Nick Dalgety from MPI for coordinating the tour, Helen Wilson from DWC for assisting. Both DPI and DWC contributed financially to defray the cost to participants of the trip, thank you for that also.

K symbol

Posted in Agriculture, Business, Community, Community-Led Development, Economics, Environmentally Responsible Business, Karamea, New Zealand, Paul Murray, Social Enterprise, South Island, Sustainability, Uncategorized, West Coast | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Karamea Radio Moves to “The Cross”…

…But it’s Broadcast as Usual for New Rongo Radio


Off the Top of My Head

By DJ Crap

DSC_0072.JPGAfter almost 14 years at Rongo Dinner Bed & Breakfast, Karamea Community Radio 107.5 FM will move into its new studio at “The Cross“ (formerly “The Bush Lounge”) on July 22.

With few interruptions, never any annoying advertisements, often considerable humour, occasional interviews and always awesome tunes, the community transmitter has been radiating out of its temporary custodial home at Rongo 24/7/365 since September 2004.


Late last year, local celebrity and bon vivant Brendan O’Dwyer, discussed with the owner of The Cross Tony Ibbotson and Rongo owner Paul Murray the idea of relocating the Karamea Radio transmitter to The Cross to make the station more easily accessible and public.

All concerned thought this to be a grand proposal and soon plans were afoot to erect an aerial and build a new radio studio. The Karamea Army then went to work, materials appeared, skills were shared, and rapid progress was made.

The new studio looks out into the evolving Vinnie’s Café and will provide his customers with an exciting accompaniment to their food and beverages. Lena at Nature Ahead will have tunes to groove to while she makes her customers more beautiful, Paul’s Property Brokers clients will hear Karamea in action and the staff and customers at the 4-Square Hardware and Info Centre will be dancing in the aisles!

The radio station has promoted Karamea and has reached over 100,000 people around the world. The exploits of “The Lisp,” “EMANON,” “NONAME, “Staunch Steve,” Big Man” and others on their on-air adventure “The Chronicles of Sputnik Follie” (think the Goon Show meets Red Dwarf) has been syndicated on a station in New York City. The world has also reached back. The “Nuphoria” radio show by DJ Marcellus Nealy comes to us from Tokyo and has thoroughly explored the “Art & Science of the Groove,” DJ Travis “Blind Dog” Taylor shares his broad blues experience with us from Adelaide, South Australia…and DJ “Raven Tuhua” keeps us mellow with psybient sounds from Westport and Wellington.

Other notable DJs over the years include DJs “Obewan” and “Echo” whose “Echoes of a Jedi” show is a mid-week staple for loyal listeners, the “Bigga than Bateman” show, DJ T, DJ “Dusty Roads” with his “Saturday Night Hoedown,” Brian “Big Man” Thomson with “Mondayitis,” “Sunday Drive,” “The Comedy Show” and of course “DJ Crap & The Big Man Blues Show.” Brian has been a stalwart of the station, and to him, we owe much credit for the evolution of Karamea Radio. Tristan “DJ Who?” Lockerbie has willingly shared his technical know-how to keep the radio broadcasting, the equipment functioning and the station improving.

From the former Karamea Radio crew at Rongo, Brian, Tristan and Paul, it has been a pleasure and an honour to have had the opportunity to look after 107.5 FM for on behalf of the community and take the radio from its humble beginnings to its current status and now proudly pass the baton on to the next team of runners. We look forward to the station progressing further and becoming an even more valuable community asset…Long may the station continue to brighten the lives of the people who a lucky enough to enjoy life in Karamea, visiting music lovers and channel’s many listeners around the world. Thank you all for listening to Karamea Radio over the years, stay tuned to 107.5 FM…It’s soon going to be better than ever!

For Rongolians, fear not, for the radio studio at Rongo will live on. Radio is very much part of Rongo life, so Rongo Radio will soon be available…For more information, please join Rongo Radio’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/RongoRadio/


Owner of The Cross, Tony Ibbotson was unavailable for comment at the time of publication, but if you see him when he gets back from a well-deserved break, please thank him for his continuing vision and belief in the community, and the opportunities provided us by The Cross. Also to Brendan O’Dwyer, who is a driving force behind the evolution of The Cross.

To Listen to Karamea Radio Online, Please Visit: www.mixcloud.com/KarameaRadio/

Radio Station Farewell PARTY at Rongo July 21, 3-10 pm

Dear Listeners: To celebrate 14 years of Radio at Rongo, please bring your five best songs along to play at the farewell party on July 21 from 3:00-10:00 p.m. at Rongo. We will record the show and add it to the archive of Karamea Radio history.

Sausage sizzle to raise money for the new station: Bangers in Bread $5

Karamea Radio fans, see if you can find yourself in the collection of Karamea Radio memories below……

These images are from the fun we’ve had with people from all over New Zealand and the world…May the new Karamea custodians keep the good times rolling and Long Live Karamea Radio 107.5 FM!

All the images are in some way connected to Karamea Radio 107.5 FM and will remain stored in the archives, which will be added to as the story continues to unfold….Stay tuned to 107.5 FM and thanks for listening!















old black & white copy scan picture of ROBERT PLANT musician

The Seven Chakras of R. Crumb