In Conversation with: Antony Young, Chairperson of the Horowhenua Taste Trail

Antony Young, Chairperson of the Horowhenua Taste Trail, sees the Horowhenua through a unique set of eyes.  He has experienced the excitement of big city living in London, Hong Kong, and New York. However, it is the Horowhenua that he now calls home. Antony is a firm believer that the Horowhenua is an enviable place to live in its own right.

“One thing I’ve really appreciated coming to the area is, the people are no nonsense and no pretence. I think that counts for a lot”, he says.
Originally from Wellington, Antony spent 20 years overseas. He joined advertising firm Saatchi & Saatchi and worked in media and communications planning, before deciding to return to New Zealand in 2016. He and his family now own a blueberry farm in Levin, Noho Farms.

Antony’s experiences provide a perspective on the Horowhenua that is uplifting and aspirational. His skill set is also a welcome addition to the Horowhenua Taste Trail team.


Antony’s journey to the Taste Trail
As some Taste Trail fans will know, the inaugural Taste Trail event began in 2016. Planning for the first Taste Trail was already underway when Antony moved to the Horowhenua. However, Antony came on board in 2017 with the goal of assisting in ensuring the Taste Trail was attractive and sustainable after a successful first year.

The Taste Trail is unique because the public can go onsite and experience where their food is produced. It also promotes transparency in the industry because producers are opening their doors and showing the real food production process.

“We’re really committed to making it somewhere where people can go on to the packing sheds and properties to see for themselves what it is like. Bringing someone inside a chicken processing plant is pretty gutsy stuff!” Antony says.  

As Chairperson of the Horowhenua Taste Trail, Antony’s official role is to chair the Horowhenua Taste Trail Board (a not-for-profit comprised of four producer representatives and Antony as Independent Chair). The Board meets regularly throughout the year to define and execute the strategy behind the Taste Trail event.

However, Antony sums up his role as part cheerleader and part advisor.

“Most of the credit goes to the women on the organising committee who are not just executing it, but it’s their ideas and real desire to make something great happen. The producers have a big role to play without them we simply do not have an event, and they genuinely want to promote the district before they promote their businesses with this venture. Then we have hundreds of volunteers and employees of the producers who give up their personal time. And we’ve got our sponsors who just want us to succeed” he says.

“So if anything, my role is the chief thank you officer. Because we owe it to all those involved to make it a success. It’s something pretty special and something that has some real momentum”, he says. 


A celebration of regional food production
The Horowhenua is an important food producing district of New Zealand. “Food production and manufacturing contributed $136.5 million towards our GDP in 2017, representing some 16% of our total economy”, says Shanon Grainger, Economic Development Manager at the Horowhenua District Council.

“Trail producers collectively employ over 730 local staff, in doing so providing incomes and affording choice and opportunity to many families across our great region”, he says.

The Taste Trail promotes and generates interest in the region as a food producer, both by people participating in the event, and the associated media coverage. It allows producers who do not sell to the public, such as Woodhaven Gardens, to open their doors and show the public what they do.
It’s also an opportunity for producers to launch new products, and Taste Trail participants to try them.
“We want the Horowhenua to mean something: to stand for good value, quality, freshness and locally produced. And this is helping to do that,” Antony says.


See the Horowhenua from a different perspective
Antony’s passion for the Horowhenua as a great place to live and work is on display whenever he talks about the region.

“In the Horowhenua, we’re not very good at blowing our own trumpet. This is an opportunity to put some of that out there. And I think that’s largely why I’m involved. Just seeing the cafes creating a Horowhenua Taste Trail Dish and showcasing some of our ingredients. That’s about pride. We want to use the Taste Trail as a showcase for some of the good things that are happening in the area”, he says.

So come along and join Antony on Saturday, 24 November 2018 at the Taste Trail. See the Horowhenua with a fresh set of eyes and experience some of the new offerings this year, including:Savour events
What's to eat
Deluxe Tour

Tickets are selling fast and are available at http://www.tastetrail.co.nz/