The annual ASB Auckland Seafood Festival drew a record high of 20,000 visitors over Auckland Anniversary Weekend. Among the throngs were 50 hospitality and cookery students from NZMA, all keen to develop their industry skills.
NZMA’s employment wing, NZMA Careers, worked with Avenues Event Management to arrange voluntary work for the students at the festival. From working on the food stands and entry gates, to prepping food in the kitchens and selling ice-creams and drinks, the students were assigned to a wide range of tasks over the three day event.
“It was such a great festival and it gave our students a really valuable insight into how events are run,” said NZMA Careers Manager Gareth Brown.
“It also enabled them to develop confidence and build on the skills they are learning at NZMA, such as customer service. Our students were on a massive buzz all weekend – some even worked four shifts because they loved it so much! This is the first time we’ve organised a group to work at the festival, but we’ll definitely be doing it again next year.”
The students didn’t fail to impress, receiving great feedback from the event company and members of the public.
“Many people commented on how polite and entertaining our students were - they even created a scampi dance to entertain the crowd! People thought it was awesome that at NZMA we get our students out for work experience, and even better because it was all for charity.”
Since the ASB Auckland Seafood Festival began in 2006 well over $400,000 has been donated to charitable organisations such as Rotary, the Blood and Leukaemia Foundation and the Stellar Trust. This year’s event raised money for New Zealand Surf Lifesaving, which NZMA Level 5 hospitality student Jack Sisikefu thought was “awesome”.
“I loved everything about the Auckland Seafood Festival and knowing that proceeds from the event were going to support surf lifesaving made the overall experience that much more worthwhile,” he said.
Jack spent the three days volunteering as a host and section manager for the Scampi Saloon.
“I had so much fun and will definitely do it again next year. It taught me a lot too – I know a lot more now about how important the seafood industry is to both to the New Zealand economy and our distinctively New Zealand culture.”
For Jack, the biggest highlight was undoubtedly the food.
“It was amazing. From oyster pancakes and teriyaki salmon to mussel fritters and crayfish tails, it was quintessential culinary heaven.”