Fine dining made Fair Trade

Last updated 05:00 17/05/2012
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RUTH KEBER

FINE DINERS: Hannah Mackintosh, left, and Renee Rushton

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Fine dining with an ethical edge takes centre stage at a banquet on Saturday that's sourced from fair trade and local ingredients.

A Fine Affair is a collaborative effort between community group Wellington South Time Bank and Newtown locals as part of Fair Trade Fortnight.

Time Bank allows community members to trade their expertise, with skills offered in place of monetary payment.

Event organiser Renee Rushton has run Oxfam fundraisers at Victoria University for the past three years, but thought it was time to try something new.

"This year, some friends and I decided to up the ante and hold a slightly more ambitious event."

She decided a dinner was a fun way to engage and inform people, instead of reaching an audience of students only through university events.

A range of people have so far bought tickets, including community group members, young professionals and families.

Time Bank co-ordinator Hannah Mackintosh says it is important to increase local awareness of fair trade products so consumers can demand more fair trade products in shops and supermarkets.

Fair trade works to help producers in developing countries to encourage ethical and sustainable goods such as coffee, chocolate and gold.

"New Zealanders really tend to believe in everyone having a fair go. Having fair trade readily available at least gives us the choice of supporting that."

There is currently a big push to get more fair trade bananas into supermarkets, but fair trade sugar also needs to feature prominently on supermarket shelves, Ms Mackintosh says.

Both women have been overwhelmed by the support from Wellington businesses.

Peoples Coffee, Yealands Estate, All Good Organics and Kowtow Clothing are all donating fair trade or locally produced items.

Ms Mackintosh has assembled a team of volunteers, including pop-up chef Tania Sawicki Mead and a string trio of local musicians, to accompany the dinner. The three-course menu will include choices such as braised duck with rice pilaf, roast baby pumpkins with lentils, and rich chocolate cake with drunken raisins.

The evening will also feature a presentation from All Good Organics on importing fair trade Ecuadorian bananas and a charity auction on items including a night at the Museum Hotel, clothing and Penthouse cinema tickets. All proceeds go to Oxfam.

Ms Rushton says she hopes to hold a similar event next year.

The Details

A Fine Affair Fair Trade Dinner, Newtown Community Centre, Saturday, May 19, 7pm. Tickets $40. Email renee.rushton@gmail.com

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