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Source: Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology

The Bay of Plenty is embarking on a culinary revolution by introducing a one-of-a-kind culinary arts degree to invigorate and fortify the region’s thriving food industry.

Toi Ohomai | Te Pūkenga is launching the Bay of Plenty delivery of the Bachelor of Culinary Arts, with the aim that this course helps to reinvigorate and bolster the booming food industry in the rohe.  

The degree course is already offered at Otago Polytechnic | Te Pūkenga, and Dunedin was the only location in Aotearoa to offer the qualification previously. Under Te Pūkenga, Toi Ohomai is now able to offer the course to ākonga in the Bay of Plenty and the wider North Island.  

Toi Ohomai culinary arts tutor and industry stalwart Peter Blakeway is excited to be able to offer the course in the Bay of Plenty and says demand is high for a degree-level culinary course. 

He says this modern course will be the future of culinary arts as it is not just about becoming a chef. 

“The outcomes are going to be different to a trade qualification, it’s about the wider food industry. This programme is designed to help people become an industry leader in the food world by empowering them to follow their passions.”

Ākonga will cultivate applied technical and creative thinking skills, including specialised culinary techniques within their area of interest, and ways to develop new and innovative offerings to give themself a competitive edge. 

Through hands-on projects with local employers and businesses, ākonga will develop real-world skills and apply both creative and technical knowledge in everyday situations. 

Career pathways upon completing the degree include food producer, chef, recipe developer, food stylist, writer or product entrepreneur.

Peter says the food industry in the Bay of Plenty is in full support of the degree course being offered at Toi Ohomai. 

Tauranga Business Chamber Chief Executive Matt Cowley says the Western Bay of Plenty subregion was facing dramatic changes over the next few decades and that there was an immediate priority to support and enhance the region’s changing hospitality sector to complement New Zealand’s tourism reset and reconnection with the global economy following the pandemic. 

“It is a priority to upskill our hospitality and food industries to forge lifelong learning and career pathways to ensure the sector maintains its knowledge and skill bases.

“The Tauranga Business Chamber supports this initiative as it’s aligned with the region’s natural assets, regional strengths, economic strategies, and private sector industry investment.”

Solera Wine Bar Director Nick Potts says he was excited to hear about this initiative. 

“I agree our industry is hurting and we as professionals in the industry need to lead the way in this change.”

Peter says there is already considerable interest from ākonga, with many looking at it as a pathway to open their own business. 

“We’re also seeing a lot of interest from women, which is great as historically culinary arts has been somewhat male dominated.” 

The Bachelor of Culinary Arts kicks off in February 2024 at both the Toi Ohomai Rotorua and Tauranga campuses.