A growing sense of unity amongst a diverse range of public and professional groups was clearly evident on the first day of the second Veg and Vines conference in Gisborne yesterday.
Attendance was small during the early part of the day but grew steadily as participants flew in from all over the country to a city that generally might be classed as off the track when it comes to holding a national event.
Easily the most powerful presentation of the day came from Raniera Rewiri, known more commonly to his substantial number of You Tube followers as The Plant-Based Maori.
Usually, in his personal presentations, Rewiri makes physic use of a whiteboard to draw out distinctions amongst his audience on racial stereotyping.
Although without that tool yesterday he still drew his audience to attentive silence as he covered issues around the gradual disconnection that had evolved between Maori and Pakeha and how, as a result, Maori had become isolated from its mostly plant-based roots.
For many this might sound like a bridge too far but as Rewiri explains, it becomes a fascinating exploration that challenges his listeners to review their thinking and leads them round to the thought that they should consider what they’re eating.
An interview with Raniera Rewiri will soon be added to this site but in quick conclusion I can’t leave this piece without reference to the kai – after all, what else is a whole food plant-based conference all about.
A cooking demonstration in the afternoon conducted by chef Anna Carrington with her team Sue and Bridget featured the creation of dips, crackers and a cold udon salad.
In short Rewiri’s presentation in the morning might have offered some excellent food for thought but it was the food that stole the show.
And finally, from the medical fraternity which is the cornerstone of this conference, came a delivery from doctors Coral Dixon (Mount Mauganui) and Martyn Williamson (Alexandra) which can only be classed as a seminal.
It was riveting. This too will be the subject of a separate and soon to published article on this site.
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