Two industry icons, chef Michael Meredith and host extraordinaire Peter Morrison have received awards in this year’s Queen’s Birthday honours.
Michael Meredith is now a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services as a restaurateur and to philanthropy. Meredith is a renowned chef and has had an extensive and highly successful career in Auckland restaurants, including Antoine’s, Vinnie’s, and as founding chef of the Grove. He opened Meredith’s Restaurant in 2007, and won Restaurant of the Year from both Metro and Cuisine magazines in the following years. He has also been awarded outstanding chef in Auckland’s annual hospitality awards. Meredith has used his culinary skills to heavily involve himself in a number of charitable works. He advises Eat My Lunch, a social enterprise which has given free lunches to more than 300,000 children in decile 1 and 2 schools since it began. He also holds weekly charity nights at his restaurant Meredith’s, called Dine by Donation. Diners receive a three course meal and Meredith’s donates the costs to the charity of the month. These nights raised $160,000 for various charities in the first two years of operation.
Meredith said he was incredibly surprised when he found out he was awarded the honour. “You don’t do these things to be honoured . . . Shock was the first thing that came to mind,” he said.
After dropping out of school at 15, he fell in love with the creativity of making food. Meredith puts his success down to self-belief. “That’s one of the key things to come through. Everyone has dreams but I think there is a self- belief that has to come behind that. “There is something in all of us . . . we are capable of able to help anyone. Cooking and food has become a vehicle for me to be able to give back.
Peter Morrison, host extraordinaire of the Classic Villa Boutique Hotel in Christchurch, has been awarded an Order of Merit in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to the hospitality industry.
With a hospitality career spanning almost 40 years, Mr Morrison has been a mainstay of the Christchurch hospitality scene holding various executive roles, including on the national board of Hospitality New Zealand, as board member and treasurer.
Mr Morrison started his career in the mid 1970’s as a management trainee for Lion (as it is now known) gaining management experience in various hotels throughout the country. He moved to Christchurch in 1986 where he managed the Hotel Russley, before becoming one of the owners. Throughout the 90’s, his company Morrison Hospitality Management Ltd successfully owned and managed a number of accommodation, bar and restaurant establishments including, Morrisons on Merrin in Avonhead and the Mansfield House & Tavern in Merivale.
In 2006, Peter and his partner Jan Clarke started hosting guests at the Classic Villa Boutique Hotel in Christchurch a 5 star Qualmark rated establishment.
“Peter is one of those industry professionals you just know you can call on for insights and advice”, says Vicki Lee, CEO Hospitality New Zealand. “He’s seen the industry evolve into what it is today and has a massive understanding of the hospitality industry and what needs to be done for it to thrive”.
“His commitment to the industry, particularly after the 2011 Christchurch earthquakes, is exceptional”, she said. “He has stood by the Christchurch industry during the rebuild and was instrumental in setting up and chairing Christchurch Hospitality Incorporated, a vital link between quake-affected hospitality industries, CERA and other authorities. All the while chairing the Canterbury Branch of Hospitality New Zealand.”
Mr Morrison also represents New Zealand’s tourism and hospitality sectors on the world stage as a member and International Councillor of SKAL International NZ, a professional organisation of tourism leaders. Outside hospitality, Mr Morrison is treasurer of the Friends of the Art Centre helping to raise funds for specific project repairs within the quake-affected Christchurch Art Centre.
“It’s lovely to receive this acknowledgement” Mr Morrison said, “I’m not going to be modest and say it doesn’t feel good. It feels really good! But I didn’t get this award on my own, and I know it is an acknowledgement of our great hospitality and tourism industry. I can’t imagine doing anything else and don’t plan to stop any time soon.” he said.