The first ever Big Blackberry Feast was held in Glenside on Sunday, 19 February 2017.

Around 80 people came along for the event, which evoked childhood memories of picking blackberries in the summer sun.

In attendance, in addition to the locals of course, were Wellington Mayor Justin Lester and family, and Councillors Peter Gilberd, Malcolm Sparrow, and Jill Day. Aspiring MP Greg O’Connor was also present.

Master of Ceremonies was Alan Brosnan. The Johnsonville Premier Rugby team under the leadership of coach Logan Tauiliili helped out with outdoor sporting activities for the children.

Scroll down for some images of the event and for Alan’s opening speech.

Blackberry Feast

Rugby huddle

Photo: Paul Hendry

Food all laid out for serving

Photo: Zaynah Ahmad

The afternoon tea under the marquee had a special ingredient – each item of food brought by the guests, had to include blackberries!

Scones, pastries, slices, lamingtons, pikelets, sausage rolls, chicken nibbles and a ‘cloud cake’ were some of the culinary creations available.

 Blackberry and lemon layer cake

Blackberry and lemon layer cake. Photo: Esther Kiernan, who created it.

Conversation cards

Conversation cards

Blackberry jam

Blackberry feasting

Blackberry feasting

All ready to go

Looking great! Photo: Paul Hendry

A great day for a big blackberry feast

All ready for Glenside's big blackberry feast. Photo: Paul Hendry

Preparing the marquee

Preparing for the day

Welcoming speech

Welcome to the first ever 'Big Blackberry Feast' right here in Glenside.

It is wonderful to see such a great turnout here today from the youngsters who are the future of not only Glenside but also of this great nation, their parents who are the current caretakers of this suburb and also to the older generation who are, without a doubt, responsible for providing the foundation, structure and direction which got the rest of us to where we are today.

Speaking on behalf of my age group and below, I want to personally thank the older generation for your contribution and hard work in making New Zealand what it is today – a very well respected and thriving nation.

It is the people from the country and suburbs, the small communities scattered throughout New Zealand who provide the character and backbone of New Zealand – the things that make this nation true ‘Kiwi Country’.

My name is Alan Brosnan and it is my privilege to be in attendance today to assist in making this a fun and successful event.

This event would not have been possible without the sponsorship and support of the Wellington City Council and on behalf of the citizens of Glenside I would like to thank Mayor Justin Lester who is here today with his wife Liz. We also have in attendance, Councillors Peter Gilberd, Jill Day and Malcolm Sparrow. Thank you so much for your support and contribution.

Mayor Lester – we know that you are the Chief Executive of a major metropolitan city – a capital city at that – but thank you for what you do for the small suburbs of this city. These residents truly respect and are thankful for what you are doing for them and for supporting their neighborhoods.

I would also like to recognize the Glenside Progressive Association, in particular the organizing committee for this event, led by their President Claire Bibby, Deputy President Marg Ellis, Helen Bond, Suzanne Hendry and Jess Barnes. Thanks for the time and effort in putting this event together.

The aim of this event

The aim of this event is to support the City Council’s Neighbour’s Day by bringing this community together. Knowing each other not only fosters strong bonds and new friendships but also assists in matters pertaining to security, disasters and other incidents that might affect us personally.

All of you have very busy lives with kids, family matters, work and sporting and recreation events but knowing that you can pick up a phone and reach out to your neighbors for whatever reason is very important and comforting.


To assist with the smooth running of the event, we have five special servers today who will be responsible for providing refreshments and snacks to your table. You do not have to get up to get food or drinks, they will keep a steady flow coming your way. Our servers are Madison, Steven, Zaynah, Karl and Baz.

Kids games

We are happy to have here today some players and the head coach of the Johnsonville Premier Rugby Team who will be running the kids games. These guys are great so when the time comes, you kids get involved and have fun under the direction of Logan Tauiliili, Hiko Davies, Eammon Carr, Anthony Pettett and Hemi Remuera.

So with that, please relax, mingle, share stories, memories and enjoy yourselves for the next couple of hours.