The Great Tarawera Trout Smoke-off: Dec 29 2019
On a balmy, Sunday afternoon the first (hopefully of many), Great Tarawera Trout Smoke-off was held at the local Community Centre. The organising committee of Liz Cooper, Mandy Godo, Fiona McAllister, Tony Snell and Geoff Thomas had little idea of how many entries we would achieve. We chose the Sunday after Christmas as we felt that’s when most locals would be around and will probably continue that but full details will be published in the Phantom later in the year.
We were delighted to receive 28 entries and raised $535 for the community centre through a $10 entry fee per fish and a gold coin donation from spectators—some of whom were extremely generous indeed! Several competitors submitted more than one trout; there was no limit. Geoff Thomas and Tony Snell caught and smoked numerous trout so there were free samples for people to taste or take home.
With much anticipation, excitement and pride, entries were dropped off prior to judging and assigned a number to ensure it was a true blind taste test. All competitors were locked outside (to avoid any surreptitious influencing) while the judges conscientiously tasted and awarded marks for Taste (flavour, moisture, texture) and Presentation.
Our three judges were Andy Garrick of Fish & Game, Ken Raureti of Ngati Rangitihi and an obliging local, Brent Smith, who we roped in last minute.
While the judging took place, competitors, friends and family enjoyed a BYO beverage or three outside, while children played happily amongst the crowd. We felt we more than achieved our objective, which was to bring the Lake Tarawera community together for a relaxed, fun afternoon. The event was promoted through emails from the LTRA, street signage and a mail drop. Many properties don’t have mail boxes and surprisingly we still have quite a few property owners here who haven't joined the LTRA—yet—so may have been unaware of this inaugural event.
We hope to continue annually as it’s a nice way to bring people together, fosters a bit of good-hearted competitiveness amongst friends, families and neighbours and we managed to raise a few dollars for the community centre.
In the end there were three clear winners, separated by just a couple of points. First place went to Maddie Snell ,who also generously offered to be the official photographer; Ange MacKay was runner up and Maddie’s dad, Tony Snell was third. The winners received vouchers from Hunting and Fishing who also donated $130 of spot prizes. Thanks to Expandasign for the signs FOC. Congratulations to the winners and thanks to everyone who came along as a competitor or supporter. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did and return to make TGTTSO an even bigger success this year!
All images courtesy of Maddie Snell