Wellington Culinary Events Trust

The Wellington region, encapsulating the districts of Wellington city, Lower Hutt, Upper Hutt, Porirua, Kapiti and the Wairarapa, has a wealth of enthusiastic and passionate food and beverage producers, suppliers, manufacturers, educators and committed consumers.

This supports Wellington’s position as the Culinary Capital of New Zealand. Home to more than 400 restaurants, bars and cafes, Wellington rivals New York for choice – and the rest of the world’s foodie destinations for quality.


The Wellington Culinary Events Trust (WCET), a not-for-profit charitable trust, was established in February 2014, to promote Wellington (city and region) as the premium New Zealand destination for hospitality experiences, thereby adding value to the Wellington region for the benefit of the public of Wellington region.

The culinary and hospitality community provide a critical component of Wellington’s cultural offering. WCET’s role is to champion this by providing experiences throughout the year, working with a wide range of partners, from community events through to festivals such as Visa Wellington On a Plate (Visa WOAP).

The ultimate goal of the WCET is for the Wellington region to be recognised as the Culinary Capital of New Zealand - raising awareness and growing confidence in the wider Wellington region’s food community, and to act as a platform for a delicious and diverse range of events, programmes and competitions, accessible to all levels of the community.

One of the key ways that WCET is endeavouring to work with the community is through collaborations with other key iconic Wellington events and festivals (i.e. International Arts Festival, CubaDupa etc), as well as being a key communication channel (via digital, social media, eNewsletter databases and other channels) for existing culinary events and experiences (i.e. Toast Martinborough, Harvest Festival etc).

Our vision

Feeding people’s appetite for life by bringing them together to share different, inspiring and provocative culinary experiences.

Our objectives

  1. To support Wellington’s hospitality and culinary sector to thrive
  2. To support Wellington to become one of the world’s great food cities
  3. To tell the Wellington Food Story via different, inspiring and provocative culinary experiences
  4. To drive economic growth for the Wellington region through visitation and export growth

The Trust’s activity culminates with Highball in May and Visa WOAP and Beervana both held annually in August.

Visa Wellington On a Plate

Positively Wellington Tourism and Grow Wellington (both now part of WREDA) established Visa WOAP in 2009 to showcase the region’s food and beverage sector, and to develop culinary tourism in the region.

The festival was also developed as a vehicle to showcase Wellington’s regional identity and to provide a platform for the culinary community, from across the wider region, to work together to deliver a unified outcome celebrating the whole region.

With a goal to support Wellington’s hospitality and culinary sector to thrive, the festival is the cornerstone in supporting Wellington’s position as the Culinary Capital of New Zealand, the festival acts as a platform for a delicious and diverse range of events, programmes and competitions. Wellington's restaurant community shine through Dine Wellington – where approximately 100 eateries throughout the region offer locally focused set menus, Beervana leads the Festival Events programme, Cocktail Wellington puts the spotlight on our talented bartenders and the annual battle of the buns, Garage Project presents Burger Wellington, is a favourite of the Festival.

The festival has continued to grow both in size and success. Since 2009, Dine Wellington participation has increased over 150% (from 42 to over 100 restaurants) and the Festival Events programme has surged ten-fold (from 12 event to 125) – food for thought!

Visa WOAP has significant support from the Wellington food and beverage industry, producers and suppliers. The festival is a key platform for the marketing of the Wellington hospitality industry throughout the Wellington region, New Zealand and Australia. And since its humble-pie beginnings, the annual festival has worked hard to establish a reputation as one of New Zealand’s premier culinary events. It has been suggested that the festival has the potential to be as valuable and strategically important to Wellington as established events such as the NZ Festival or World of WearableArt™ Awards Show.

Partner with us

Visa WOAP stands for collaboration and partnership. By developing a relationship with Visa WOAP through both industry and consumer – you align your organisation in helping to tell an integral part of Wellington’s story represented by our key brand values and messages: 

  • Innovative: Seeking our new culinary adventures
  • Real: Authentic experiences
  • Community: Food is best shared
  • Quality: A restless pursuit of excellence
  • Collaborative: A city and region working together to serve up more

Cheers for your support!

Visa WOAP would not exist if not for our generous sponsors and partners. As far as we’re concerned, having too many cooks in the kitchen is definitely a good thing!


The WCET acquired Beervana in May 2015. Beervana is New Zealand's premier craft beer celebration offering attendees the opportunity to sample the latest offerings from breweries here in New Zealand, Australia and a few handpicked from around the world. Enthusiasts are enlightened with informative seminars on how to appreciate craft beer even more than you already do. For keen home-brewers there are masterclasses, equipment and friendly advice.


Highball is New Zealand’s most exciting annual cocktail and spirits celebration. The finest of New Zealand craft spirits and cocktails are mixed with education and imbibing. Hosted at the iconic Wellington Dominion Museum, Highball is an immersive two day celebration showcasing some of the best purveyors of cocktails and spirits New Zealand and the world has to offer! Highball and Wellington Cocktail Week takes place every May.


The Wellington Culinary Events Trust Board is governed by an inspiring group of leaders in their field:

Grant Maxwell - Chair

James Bennie
Mike Egan
Sarah Meikle
Terry Shubkin
Paul Sinclair
David Perks (WREDA Observer)
Jamie Tuuta
Sarah Wickens


Sarah Meikle is the Chief Executive of the WCET. If you have any questions or queries, please email us.