By Fiona Acheson, head of food, beverage, and consumer goods at NZTE


New Zealand’s Tiaki restaurant is proving a popular choice with the expected 25 million visitors to Expo 2020 Dubai.

In the first two months, more than 300,000 visitors had passed through the New Zealand Pavilion, with many also stopping to dine in the 100-seater restaurant on dishes ranging from sustainably sourced New Zealand hoki fillet and fries, through to New Zealand pasture-raised venison and Marlborough greenshell mussels – each dish complemented by a choice of New Zealand white wines and ales. Each fortnight the kitchen is going through around 100 kgs of beef, 100 kgs of lamb and 180 roasted eggplant.  The most popular dish is the Kiwiburger with more than 500 selling a fortnight.

New Zealand’s participation in the Sustainability District of the expo is proving to be a great platform for showcasing our theme: Care for People and Place. The expo, which runs from October1, 2021 until March 31, 2022, is one of the first global gatherings since the outbreak of Covid-19.  As countries and cultures meet they want to share food together and Tiaki, meaning to care, safeguard, protect and preserve, is where visitors experience the outstanding quality of our food and beverage and manaakitanga –  warm and generous hospitality.

Tiaki has received large bookings from other countries including delegations from Switzerland, Belgium, Netherlands, UAE, Russia, and the USA along with high-profile journalists such as CNN’s Becky Anderson.

In January the New Zealand at Expo team will hold ‘Taste New Zealand’ – three weeks of food-focussed activity, tastings, demonstrations and curated dinners featuring well-known New Zealand chefs, in Tiaki.  In February, Expo will mark Food, Agriculture and Livelihoods week, which New Zealand is heavily involved with, including providing speakers to Expo events.

The effort by New Zealand is not just for the expo. New research commissioned by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise found that UAE consumers are willing to pay a premium for high-quality food and beverage products that taste good, are healthy, and that they can trust. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers in the UAE care more about where their food comes from and how it was made, with more than 50 percent of those surveyed agreeing this impacts their food and beverage purchasing decisions.

New Zealand companies travelling to Expo can book Tiaki or the pavilion’s hosting venues to host their own events.

Visit Tiaki Restaurant | NZ Expo 2020 Dubai ( for more.

Fiona leads NZTE’s Food and Beverage Customers team. She has held roles as NZTE regional director for Greater China, NZTE investment director on the government’s cross-agency investment taskforce, and has also been trade commissioner in Guangzhou and for Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei. She has also supported leveraging activities around New Zealand – China free trade agreement and led leveraging programmes around the ASEAN–Australia–New Zealand and Malaysia–New Zealand FTAs.

The information and opinions within this column are not necessarily the views or opinions of Hot Source, NZ Food Technology, or the parent company, Hayley Media.