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Our 2017 Hosts:

Public Speaker & Author – Jake Bailey

Jake Bailey is the ex-Christchurch Boys’ High School senior monitor, whose end of year speech made worldwide headlines after going viral in November 2015. A week before he was due to deliver this speech, Jake fell ill and was diagnosed with Burkitt’s Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, the fastest growing cancer known to man. Jake was given 2 weeks to live if this was left untreated. He persevered through to make his speech to his school, and the video of this went on to touch the hearts of millions and draw support from across the globe.

Since being announced in remission in January 2016, Jake has gone on to share his experiences, his story, and the things he has learnt that have given him clarity throughout his journey, in the hopes of helping others facing difficulties. He has presented over 100 speeches to a vastly wide range of audiences across many locations, and while based on the Gold Coast full time, he travels most weeks for these presentations. He is the author of the #1 Bestselling book, ‘What Cancer Taught Me’, a weekly columnist for the NZ Herald, and the subject of the documentary ‘The Common Touch’. He is also an official ambassador for two charities- Maia Health Foundation in New Zealand, and Tour de Cure in Australia, and is incredibly passionate about these organisations and the differences they make.

TV Personality & Artist – Erin Simpson

Erin is an artist, a TV and radio personality who has delivered over 100 hours of quality New Zealand television to a range of demographics from 10 to 60, including 5 years as the host of The Erin Simpson Show.

Although as a young girl living in Te Kauwhata Erin was never adverse to pitching in on the Simpson family farm, in fact she loved it and still does on occasion when needed , the idea of her following in the family business was never on the cards. Instead Erin immersed herself in art and singing eventually gaining a Bachelor in Musical Theatre and then took on her biggest challenge to date, ‘The Erin Simpson Show’ with 770 episodes over 5 years.

Currently Erin is working for as their celebrity in homes reporter, going around to celebrity homes and capturing their most treasured items and moments. She has a new show that has been confirmed on TVNZ and is set to be released in September 2017. Her home decor range ‘Beautiful Objects’ is now sold in over 100 New Zealand retail stores.

Editor Cuisine Magazine – Kelli Brett

Kelli is a passionate story teller and an excellent content director as the Managing Editor of New Zealand’s premium food and drink magazine ‘Cuisine’ and Director of Fairfax NZ’s food channel.

Kelli grew up in her mother’s gourmet food store, then went on to work in five-star hotel management and events before shifting into media, eventually presenting The Main Ingredient with Kelli Brett, which ran nationally across Australia on ABC networks and won a World Food Media award for best food-and-wine radio. She also conceived and wrote Australia Cooks, working across the country with home chefs, artisan producers and regional chefs – all the while working full time as content director for ABC. Since starting at Cuisine, she has spent much of her time racing about the country, getting to know the local food scene.

Model & Agency Owner – Patric Seng

Seng was 33 years old when he fulfilled his modelling dream at New York Fashion Week, but it hasn’t been an easy ride as  was once told he wasn’t model material. Now he has taken to the catwalk in the 2016 New York Fashion Week and started his own modeling agency, Bintang Models and Management, in 2014.

An unapologetic optimist, Patric embraces his life-long involvement with fashion through graphic design, photography and modelling. His photography has featured in national magazines, and Patric himself has made a number of television appearances.

For Patric Seng, it’s all about connection. He’s as passionate about the people he meets and works with as he is about the fashion industry itself. It was his love for the industry that inspired him to start Bintang Models – it allows him to be more involved at the coalface of the industry and to engage more deeply with the people he meets along the way.

Owner of Milly’s Kitchen – Liz Oldfield

You couldn’t get more of an iconic cooking store in New Zealand than Milly’s Kitchen, and hospitality industry veteran Liz Oldfield who aims for great customer service and dedicated staff at her Milly’s Kitchen stores.

Milly’s have been supplying quality kitchenware for serious cooks since 1983. With 2 retail stores based in Ponsonby and Parnell – Auckland, Milly’s is “where people meet, who love to cook”

Leading NZ Wine Connoisseur – Yvonne Lorkin

Yvonne is like the wine friend you wish you had – smart, funny and always a few steps ahead when it comes to discovering new wines and reappraising the classics.

Yvonne studied wine at the world-renowned Roseworthy College in Adelaide, supplementing her academic education with first hand experience at cellar doors, restaurants and specialty wine stores. These days she’s kept very busy as a judge of local and international competitions, wine columnist for numerous newspapers and magazines, and as resident wine expert on Radio NZ National. She also presents the popular television series Thirsty Work, interviewing the characters of New Zealand’s wine industry with a charismatic and engaging style.

Sports Star & Commentator – Melodie Robinson

New Zealand sports journalist and presenter, and former international rugby union player for the New Zealand women’s national rugby union team. She played 18 tests for the New Zealand women’s team, the Black Ferns, from 1996 to 2002. Robinson won two world cups in that time, playing blindside or openside flanker. While playing rugby she gained a degree from the University of Otago (BA PHSE) and a journalism certificate from Wellington Polytechnic in 1996. Her first work was in radio, working at the press gallery in Wellington covering politics. She is currently in fulltime employment with Sky Sport NZ and is completing a Post Graduate Diploma in Business Management at Auckland University’s Business School.

Sam Mannering

Chef & Author – Sam Mannering

He might look familiar, but where have you seen him? Was it from Sunday magazine or in Cuisine, or is it from Pah Homestead, Hillsborough. There are certain people you meet who seem to have boundless talent, motivation and energy. Sam Mannering is one of them – a 28 year old with a successful career in both acting and cookery ahead and behind him. We first heard of him when A Year’s Worth: Recipes from the Dunsandel Store landed on our desks – a prettily designed and photographed recipe book made in collaboration with Annabel Graham, featuring seasonal recipes from the iconic Canterbury cafe.

Ganesh & Jo of the Tasting Shed

The Tasting Shed – Ganesh & Jo

The Tasting Shed was the brainchild of both Ganesh and his wife Jo, who decided to open their dream restaurant in the picturesque setting of New Zealand’s oldest wine country. Ganesh and Jo are devoted to bringing you the best dining experience Auckland has to offer – an entrée style gastronomic voyage that takes your taste buds on an adventure.

Ganesh has won the Metro’s Restaurant Personality of the Year two years running. They welcome all to join them at The Tasting Shed in Kumeu for stunning food and great company served in the perfect setting.

Our 2016 Hosts:

Chef and Restauranter – Luca Villari

Lucas first experience in the kitchen was making pizza at 11 years old in his parents Italian Restaurant and from there his love of creating food began.

Luca trained locally in NZ in the kitchen at CinCin for 7 years then worked in Melbourne and back to Auckland. Luca has been a food writer at Taste Magazine for over 9 years. During that time Luca has also done many brand ambassador type roles for various companies over the years – both writing recipes and fronting ad campaigns.

He currently owns Al Volo Neapolitan Woodfired Pizzeria and does catering with Deluxe Events, writes for Taste Magazine and does food styling, recipe development, host cooking classes and demo’s and shoot adverts.

Michele A'Court

Michele A’ Court

Winner of “Comedienne of the Decade” at the 2010 NZ Comedy Awards, Michèle A’Court is a stand-up comedian and writer. She has been on New Zealand TV screens since 1987 and still turns up all over the place. She talks a lot – sometimes on radio and TV, sometimes in pubs and clubs – and works the comedy circuit in places like San Francisco, Las Vegas, Vancouver, Brisbane, Adelaide, Auckland and Mangawhai!

Michèle is back with us for 2016 and kindly giving us her time again for the Long Lunch as our MC and also as a host providing an amazing afternoon of tales and laughter, and helping us reach our fundraising target for the day!

Jon Bridges

After a career of over 20 years in media, Jon Bridges is currently the producer and regular guest of the award-winning TV3 comedy programme ‘7 Days’. He writes a blog on and his book “Easy Rider – A Kiwi’s Guide to Cycling” was a best seller. After getting a Masters degree, Jon began writing and performing on the TV3 sketch show ‘Away Laughing’, then enjoyed six years presenting and writing for the ground-breaking youth programme ‘IceTV’. As a producer he has made ‘The Panel’, ‘Snatch our Booty’, ‘Choice Cuts’, and ‘Sportzah’. As a writer/director he has worked on ‘Amazing Extraordinary Friends’ and ‘Secret Agent Men’.  Over the years he has published three books, written a regular humour column for the Listener and had a four-year stint as breakfast host on the much-missed Channel Z radio station.
Jon is a much loved comedy personality, TV presenter and a superb choice host for your Hospice Long Lunch day.

Nadia Lim

Nadia Lim is a New Zealand born celebrity chef, entrepreneur, food writer and television personality. Nadia is known as the self-proclaimed “Nude Cook” as an advocate of natural, unprocessed foods, and for creating healthy, nutritious recipes by putting a health focus behind real food, which is influenced by her background as a clinical dietitian.

Most recently you will recognise Nadia from the My Food Bag concept, a New Zealand and Australian home delivery service that delivers recipes and fresh ingredients to customer’s doors. A fantastic concept and Nadia and her team of recipe developers create mouth-watering new recipes every week featuring what’s best in season. Just cook and enjoy!

Nadia is very active in the community and has worked with a number of New Zealand charities, partnering with Diabetes New Zealand, the Heart Foundation, the Blind Foundation, the Cancer Society and of course Totara Hospice, we feel very lucky to have her on- going support.

Jeremy Elwood

Jeremy Elwood

Jeremy Elwood is a one of New Zealand’s most well-known standup comics with his unique brand of insightfulness, intelligent and irreverent comedy. Having been performing for more than 15 years, he has the ability to get any crowd laughing be it a corporate hosting or a pub in Timaru.

A regular guest on TV3’s award winning 7 Days, Jeremy has also appeared on our screens on several Comedy Galas, Aotearoha, A night at the classic, Funny Roots to name a few.

Having performed eight solo shows at the NZ International Comedy Festival and regularly touring around New Zealand, Jeremy has also performed around the world including Australia, Scotland, England and his native Canada and America.

We thank and welcome Jeremy as a table host to enjoy the day and have some fun with our Long Lunch guests.

Anthony Boric

Anthony Boric

At 2 metres tall, AB as he was known to his teammates, was a new breed of tall and mobile loose forwards on the scene for the All Blacks from 2008- 2011.

Firstly selected for the Blues in 2006 he took his lessons from his first year with his team and quickly applied them back in the Air New Zealand Cup. Anthony was one of North Harbour’s stand out players in 2006 and was a key factor in the team’s Ranfurly Shield win over Canterbury

In 2008 Boric became one of the senior All Black locks. His ariel skills were matched by his excellent work rate around the field.

Anthony recently turned his attention back to studying and at the end 2015 and he has now graduated with his Bachelor of Civil Engineering and is working in Auckland. Anthony also provides commentary to SKY Sport and really enjoys sharing his knowledge of the game. Rugby enthusiasts at the Long Lunch will have lots to talk about with Anthony as a table host on the day.

Ben Boyle

Ben Boyle

Ben Boyle is a graduate of the BPhED Degree majoring in Sports Management and is the founding director of Orbit Sports management. He manages the careers of many New Zealand and International rugby players ensuring they receive the best options and advise while providing an honest and supportive service.

Ben played rugby for a number of years in New Zealand and the UK; finishing his playing career in 2006. This put Ben in an ideal position to understand the needs and demands of a modern day rugby player and give insight and professional advice to their current situation

Bens recently helped his star client All Black Patrick Tuipulotu sign off a lucrative four year deal with New Zealand Rugby and he is also helping to provide Tongan international Qtulea Katoa with his first professional opportunity. Ben is a wealth of knowledge and the person to talk about rugby with at this year’s Long Lunch.

Josh Thomson

Josh Thomson

They can take the Tongan out of Dunedin but you can’t take the Dunedin out of the Tongan.

A student of life albeit from the perspective of leaning on a bar. A bit of a ladies man if he must say so himself, certainly no ladies are saying it.

Don’t be surprised if you recognise him from TV. Josh is the sweating face off the ‘Fresh Up’ commercials; slapping people about at McDonald’s and the Cash Converter guy with the awesome stuff.

He has also appears on TV3’s “7 Days” on Friday nights as a panellist and starred in Kiwi comedy “Hounds”.  Josh was keen to be involved with the Long Lunch and we are excited to welcome Josh and really appreciate his support.

Mitchell McClenaghan

Mitchell McClenaghan

Mitchell is a New Zealand cricketer, playing currently for the Black Caps he is classed as one of New Zealand’s fastest bowlers.

He made his first-class debut with Central Districts in 2007, but was only intermittently part of the team, and his career took off only when he moved to Auckland for the 2011-12 season. He joined the New Zealand squad on the tour to South Africa in 2012-13, and in his first ODI he returned excellent figures of 4 for 20, becoming only the second New Zealander, after Dayle Hadlee, to take four wickets on ODI debut. He is a left-arm fast bowler who has established himself as a regular in New Zealand’s limited-overs sides.

He runs in hard, hits the deck even harder, and describes himself as “ultra-competitive, aggressive, maybe a little bit crazy”. Mitch is very supportive of Totara Hospice and is looking forward to the Long Lunch and to meeting some keen Hospice and Cricket supporters. Thanks Mitch.

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