The sun came out for Auckland’s Seafood Festival over the long weekend, turning Halsey Wharf into a dazzling venue, overlooking the Viaduct and Waitemata Harbour.
Aucklanders celebrated New Zealand’s finest seafood over four glorious days, with live music and a wide array of local flavours to lure visitors in. Fresh crayfish, farmed paua, smoked salmon, oysters and garlic prawns proved popular at lunchtime and for those who like it a bit more exotic there were Goan, Mexican and Asian-inspired seafood delicacies on offer.
Black Stag Deli’s massive charcoal BBQ was apparently modelled on a traditional Innuit firepit and their grilled salmon burgers were a big hit at the festival. Brancott Estate’s pop-up bar near the sound stage was a stylish oasis, offering low alcohol wines, bubbles and other drinks to match the seafood dishes.
Sadly, it was thumbs down for the festival’s special credit cards, which turned out to be a waste of time for many. The stalls didn’t accept cash or eftpos – instead, visitors had to pre-load a plastic card with money. And if they wanted any of their remaining money on the card refunded at the end, they had to cue up again – on Sunday at 1pm we counted 50 people lining up with only one operator processing their refunds.
However, big thumbs up for the free water stations, free sunscreen and the well organised indoor area offering cooking classes, celebrity chef demonstrations, and educational displays for those who wanted to escape the hot temperatures outside.
Since the ASB Auckland Seafood Festival began in 2006 over $420,000 has been donated to charity, including Rotary, the Blood and Leukaemia Foundation, the Stellar Trust and Youthline.