In 2009, Clements International, launched a scholarship program to give back to their clients and the expatriate community. Now in its second year, the 2010 Expat Youth Scholarship offered participants a chance to use their experiences living in a foreign country to imagine where their journey might take them next. The scholarship’s theme, “Life in a Flying House,” is inspired by the idea that expat students who spend their childhoods moving between different countries and cultures develop rich life experiences. This year Clements received over 500 entries and will be awarding a total of $10,000 in scholarships to six, talented…
One of the best things about being an Expat Trailing Spouse is the opportunity to experience something truly different, exciting and in this case I sense somewhat embryonic.
This weekend Lori and I took part in what was described as a Nostalgic Gastronomic Adventure – Kapiti Vintage 2010, as part of the annual ‘Wellington on a Plate’ events. We boarded a vintage train at Porirua, a seaside suburb north of Wellington, took a slow, relaxing, rattling journey north over the next couple of hours to Otaki, a region long renowned for fresh food and beautiful countryside.
The region is more broadly known as the Kapiti coast after the name of the island to the west.
On arrival at Otaki, we crossed the tracks and walked a couple of minutes with our fellow passengers to The Milk Station, a heritage building still under renovation, but taking on the form of a Tuscan Villa by its owner Lyndia Wood.
Having been transported in time and place, the next four hours was spent enjoying a slow lunch, with great company and magnificent food prepared by local Chef Simon Wislang from local ingredients from the ‘Food Artisans’:
Chef Simon Wislang of Rumours Restaurant and his team did a brilliant job in the creation of a range of courses from the local producers above. I was hooked from the Waikanae Crab cakes and it just kept getting better.
The wine from Ohau Gravels was perfect and for those who know me, I had to try the beer from Tautara Brewery, their Hefe was great…but they didn’t serve the Porter! Can’t believe I haven’t tried their beer before this, I’ll be back for more.
This is the first time this event has been held and it was the creation of Graeme Harris of Kapiti Olives. From the idea of a long slow lunch using local produce, it became a “whole philosophy of stepping back in time to an era when food was such a social occasion that people had time to enjoy”.
The steam train ride from Wellington succeeded in providing the wind down experience for the guests but created a logistics challenge for Graeme and his team. You can’t turn around a steam train in Otaki. So another event was born. Another group joined the train in Otaki to enjoy a “gourmet lap lunch” on a ride to Palmerston to turn the train around.
For a first time event, Graeme and his team deserve congratulations for pulling off a great day, in what is for all intents and purposes a construction site. Other than some bad acoustics preventing some guests in the ante rooms from hearing the speeches and the guitarist, it was a perfect day and if the comments from our table and carriages are any indication, if it happens again next year, most of us would be back for more.
The ride back to Wellington had a special surprise when one of the crew, Wayne Mason of The Waratah’s and Fallen Angels fame stepped up to the Piano in our carriage and hit us with some great Blues and Rock. A fabulous way to end the day. Thanks Wayne!
Congratulations again to Graeme Harris and everyone involved with Kapiti Vintage 2010, I’m certainly looking forward to 2011.
So just to sign off with my usual business focus, this event was a great way to explore a small part of the beautiful Kapiti Region and I have a feeling that the Kapiti Coast and in particular the Otaki Region will be the target for some serious Regional and Economic development over the next few years, not just in the traditional tourism and lifestyle industries that New Zealand has become known for, but also the evolving technology sector, maybe more on this another time.