• Wellington Culinary Events Trust

Wellington Culinary Events Trust

The Wellington Culinary Events Trust (WCET) is a not-for-profit charitable trust that was established in February 2014. WCET was established as a result of the growing success of our cornerstone event, Visa Wellington On a Plate.

WCET’s principal objective is "to promote Wellington city and region as the premium New Zealand food and beverage destination".

This objective ensures WCET’s focus is on building a year-round proposition that supports the region’s food and drink industry throughout the year.

The culinary and hospitality community provide a critical component of Wellington’s cultural offering. WCET’s role is to champion this.

We work with a wide range of stakeholders and partners to deliver a delicious and diverse range of events and programmes, for consumers and for the industry.

WCET delivers three iconic food and drink festivals in Wellington.

Visa Wellington On a Plate

Positively Wellington Tourism and Grow Wellington (both now part of WellingtonNZ) established Visa Wellington On a Plate in 2009 with an initial aim of supporting Wellington’s hospitality community in their toughest month. 

Visa Wellington On a Plate has since grown to become the largest food festival in the Southern Hemisphere. 

For more information, check out the Festival Information page.


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  in New Zealand, as well as  a few handpicked from around the world. 


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.


Wellington Culinary Events Trust is governed by the WCET Board. The Board is made up of an inspiring group of leaders in their field:

Grant Maxwell - Chair of the Board

Grant has spent his career working in marketing and communications, across numerous roles. He started his career in marketing roles before moving into advertising. Over the last 25 years he’s worked across most parts of the advertising communication process, including most recently the ever-evolving digital and data spaces.  

Grant has served on the WCET board since 2015 and chaired the Audit and Risk committee before taking over the role of Trust Chair in October 2017.

Grant also sits as an industry member on the Advertising Standards Complaints Board and spent 8 years on the Media Committee of the Commercial Communications Council.

Grant lives in Wellington, is married with two teenagers, and spends any spare time nurturing a crazy compulsion to restore classic Italian cars.

Mike Egan

Mike has been in the hospitality industry for over 30 years. Co-owning his first restaurant, Van Gogh’s in Eastbourne in 1983, he spent his early career managing a stockbrokers’ private members club in London.  Since 1991 he has co-owned many establishments such as Dockside Restaurant, One Red Dog, The Arbitrageur Wine Room, and Osteria del Toro along with running the food service outlets at Te Papa from its opening in 1998 until 2003. Mike also refurbished and operated The Martinborough Hotel from 1997-2002 for an overseas-based owner.

Mike currently co-owns Boulcott St Bistro, Burger Liquor, Monsoon Poon Wellington, Monsoon Poon Auckland as well as Terrace Villas Serviced Apartments.

Since 2007 he has been the National President Restaurant Association of New Zealand.  And since 2009 he has been a Trustee of Wellington Culinary Events Trust.

Mike annually attends international industry events, including; the NRA Hotel and Restaurant Show Chicago and The European Foodservice Summit Zurich. This summit is attended by 250 European foodservice operators and is a future think tank and congress for the restaurant industry. 

Marty Kerr

Marty has more than 20 years of experience in financial services and payments across the UK, Europe, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.  Marty is currently working with a number of emerging New Zealand/United Kingdom companies as an investor and advisor.

Marty’s association with WCET dates back 10 years both in his role as the Country Manager for Visa WOAP’s naming sponsor and as an avid supporter/consumer at Beervana.

Marty is based in Auckland and is married with three primary school-aged daughters. 

Sarah Meikle - CEO

Sarah is the CEO of the WCET and Festival Director of Visa WOAP. She is also the Event Director of Beervana  and Highball.

Helping "tell NZ’s food story" is hugely important to Sarah and she has been fortunate enough to have been invited to speak to a number of conferences around the world sharing her thoughts and experiences on the role that food tourism plays in a country's branding and positioning. In this capacity, she is an Executive Member of Eat New Zealand, a collective of New Zealand's chefs, producers, media, tourism and event operators, who have all been inspired to create a national platform to promote and champion our best food, drink, and culinary tourism opportunities.

Before founding WCET, Sarah spent 6 1/2 years as General Manager, Marketing at Positively Wellington Tourism (now WellingtonNZ), one of the largest regional tourism organizations in New Zealand. Prior to that, Sarah spent almost 10 years with Tourism New Zealand in operations and marketing roles in London and Wellington. During her time at TNZ, she was responsible for establishing the agency’s marketing offices in Mumbai and Dubai, as well as undertaking market foundation work in Latin America (Argentina, Brazil and Chile) and South Africa.

Sarah is the Deputy Chairperson of Yachting New Zealand and a Director of Palliser Estate Wines of Martinborough. 

David Perks

David Perks has held leadership positions in the promotion and development of Wellington for more than a decade and is currently leading the development of the new Wellington Convention Centre, Tākina. David was instrumental in leading the creation of Visa WOAP and the establishment of the WCET back in 2009 when he was the CEO of Positively Wellington Tourism.

David is a keen consumer of Wellington’s food and beverage outputs whether they be craft beer, coffee or any of its diverse food offerings. For David, supporting the Trust in its endeavour to showcase Wellington's fine local produce to visitors, and enabling the sector to reduce its carbon footprint through championing producers that prioritise local provenance when purchasing, are equally important. 

Terry Shubkin

Terry is enjoying life in her second career.  After 18 years in the IT industry, Terry moved to where she can focus on what she is most passionate about. Terry believes that business is exciting and the two areas that excite her the most are people and growth. 

This has served her well for many years as the Chief Excitement Officer for Young Enterprise Trust, a charity whose purpose is to help young people succeed in business, community and life by helping them to develop an entrepreneurial mindset.  Her passion also aligns well to her role as Chair of PledgeMe, a social enterprise helping Kiwis fund the things they care about.

Terry enjoys weekends at her bach in the South Wairarapa Coast – fishing, hiking, gathering paua and planning her next holiday. This means choosing somewhere with lots of sights, beautiful scenery, and of course delicious food.

Paul Sinclair

Paul Sinclair is a co-owner and Director of OFNZ Ltd, an exporter of professional services, technology, and FMCG products to the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region. OFNZ is currently delivering several multi-year programmes of work in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, largely in the food security, technology, environmental, and tourism sectors. OFNZ also works with investors in the UAE, identifying agritech and horticultural investment opportunities in NZ.

As a former commercial fisherman, Parliamentary administrator, PR and advertising executive, with a decade of start-up and early-stage commercialisation experience in his background, Paul brings a commercially pragmatic and international perspective to the WCET’s work programme.

Paul relaxes by running around Wellington’s hills with a Hungarian Vizsla called Bond, tending a small Ohariu Valley apiary, mixing ferocious martinis in his search for New Zealand’s finest gin and vermouth combination, and dreams of spending a year in Paris, learning how to cook properly with Le Cordon Bleu.

Sarah Wickens

Sarah was the co-founder of the highly successful natural skincare company Trilogy. She and her sister sold this business in 2010 and Sarah now focuses her time on philanthropic endeavours as well as supporting various exciting entrepreneurial projects.

A typical day for Sarah can involve anything from her thinking about how she can connect people to one of her favourite charities - The Wellington City Mission, to discussing strategy with Jessie Wong - the CEO of the next big business to be born out of Wellington - Yu Mei handbags.

Contact us

If you have any questions about WCET, please email us.


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