Beel den Stormer Presents the Only Fishery Blog You Need

Fish, Fisheries and Queryomics

Bad News for the Great West Coast Whitebait Festival

Whitebait logo
Last October, the Westland District Council (of west coast New Zealand) sponsored the Great West Coast Whitebait Festival, which was held in Christchurch, the most populous city on the South Island.

Shortly after the festival, it was reported that the organizers had lost NZ$100,000 on the event.  Although 4000 tickets were distributed, only 1900 of these were sold (at $27 a pop).  The remaining tickets were distributed to stallholders, advertisers, invited guests, and the media.  The organizers had estimated an attendance of 5000 was necessary to break even.  (For the record, Beel was not invited, as either a guest or member of the media.) 

An updated accounting for the Great West Coast Whitebait Festival was promised in October and it was reported to the Westland District Council last Friday.  The loss now is estimated to be $200,000.  This is adding up to some serious bank, says Beel!

Kiwi currency

The Westland District Council will soon meet to decide the fate of the Great West Coast Whitebait Festival, however, there is a recommendation before the Council to abandon the event. Major bummer, says Beel!

The festival really should have been a bigger draw.  There were all kinds of goings on:

Festival flier (source of photo)

Festival flier (photo source)

There was music:

Whitebait Festival music guide (source of image)

Whitebait Festival music guide (image source)

And, of course, no proper whitebait festival would be complete without whitebait:

Mia Zhao chows down on a whitebait patty during the Great West Coast Whitebait Festival. (source of photo)

Mia Zhao chows down on a whitebait patty during the Great West Coast Whitebait Festival. (photo source)

About 500 kilograms of West Coast whitebait were brought over for the festival.  Fresh and frozen whitebait was sold out by noon, after which only patties (fritters) were left.  By 1.30pm, one stall had run out of whitebait entirely. Its a bit difficult to imagine a whitebait festival without whitebait.  There is no report that the festival ran out of beer or wine.

Hopefully, the Kiwis will sort this out and find a way to keep the festival alive.

Oh, for those not in the know, whitebait is all the rage in New Zealand.  There, whitebait is the collective term for immature fry of several species of galaxid fishes.  It usually is eaten as a fritter (think of fried egg with little fish in it). Beel recommends it.

Whitebait fritter (source of photo)

Whitebait fritter (photo source)


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This entry was posted on December 31, 2012 by in Fish Festivals and tagged , , .
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