Wednesday, 26 February 2020


Expressions of interest in a “Weekend of Seafood” called for

The Mercury Bay Events Trust, made up of the members of the Whitianga Scallop Festival Committee, is calling for expressions of interest from Mercury Bay-based hospitality and tourism businesses and community groups that would like to participate in a “Weekend of Seafood” in the place of this year’s Whitianga Scallop Festival.

“Peter Jones, the owner of Grace O’Malleys Irish Inn in Whitianga came up with the idea of local businesses all doing something special during one weekend in September this year, when we would have had the Scallop Festival,” says Fiona Kettlewell, the Scallop Festival coordinator and a member of the Whitianga Scallop Festival Committee. “The Scallop Festival Committee has decided early this year to have a gap year because of the Whitianga town centre upgrade. The festival will most certainly be back next year, better than ever before.

“The Events Trust is keen to run with Peter’s idea. We’re mindful of the Scallop Festival not losing momentum in the areas most of the festivalgoers come from - Auckland, Tauranga and Hamilton. We’re also mindful that an alternative event should be done so that it won’t be impacting on the iconic Scallop festival brand. That’s why we think the weekend should be built around seafood in general, but with reference to the start of the scallop season in September.

“What we’re looking for at the moment is for businesses and community groups to let us know if they’re interested to do something special over one of the weekends in September, putting onlive music, having a special seafood menu or dish, offering a special kind of tour or, in the case of community groups, having a stall selling the delights they would have sold at the Scallop Festival.

“If there’s enough interest, we’ll ask all the businesses and groups that would like to be part of the weekend to contribute a relatively small amount, say $200, to a marketing fund, which we’ll use to promote the ‘Weekend of Seafood’ locally as well as in Auckland, the Waikato and the Bay of Plenty. We’ll also use the marketing fund to print booklets with everything that will be available during the course of the weekend for people to pick up. We’ll distribute the booklets in Whitianga and around Mercury Bay.

“We’ll work with all community groups interested in the weekend to secure a venue where they all can put their stalls up. We may be able to arrange some entertainment in that area too.

“The Events Trust will contribute to the marketing fund, but we’ll be looking for cash sponsors as well. The more money we have to promote the weekend, to more people we’ll be able to attract to Mercury Bay. The Mercury Bay Informer is every year a significant cash sponsor of the Scallop Festival and has already indicated that they’re willing to contribute to the weekend what they would have contributed to the Scallop festival this year.

“A date for the ‘Weekend of Seafood’ hasn’t yet been decided, although the weekend of 21 - 23 September looks promising. We’ll finalise the date with all participating businesses and community groups once we have a better idea of how big the weekend is going to be.”

All Mercury Bay-based businesses, community groups and sponsors that would like to participate in a ‘Weekend of Seafood’ can email Fiona at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Caption - Fiona Kettlewell, Whitianga Scallop Festival coordinator, and Peter Jones, the owner of Grace O’Malleys Irish Inn in Whitianga.


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The Mercury Bay Informer is a highly popular community newspaper, based in Whitianga. The paper is distributed throughout the Coromandel Peninsula, coast to coast from Thames to north of Colville.