The Long Lunch

The queen of garden shows herself, the Hon. Maggie Barry, will be hosting The Long Lunch. Held on the fourth and final day of the Garden and Art Festival, at Mills Reef Winery, The Long Lunch will be an enjoyable and relaxed afternoon celebration.

Wonderfully gracious, with a finely-tuned sense of humour, Maggie will be joined by her good friend and special guest Ruud Kleinpaste, otherwise known as ‘The Bug Man’.

“I always have a lot of banter with Maggie,” says Ruud. “It’s a lot of good fun.”

Currently National MP for the North Shore and National spokesperson for Seniors, Veterans and Associate Health portfolios, Maggie will bring along a ‘Maggie Barry Hybrid Tea Rose’ - a rose named after her - to give away at the three-course meal.

“We are very excited to welcome Maggie as our host at the Long Lunch,” says festival event coordinator Rose Webb.

“It will be a fun afternoon, celebrating the last day of the Garden and Art Festival, with plenty of delicious food, great company and entertainment.”

Before entering politics, Maggie had a 30-year media career as a news presenter and interviewer in radio, television and print.

She worked in radio in Taupo and Palmerston North before returning home to Wellington and producing a current affairs round-up for Radio New Zealand’s commercial network.

In 1986 she became the youngest host of RNZ’s Morning Report and the first woman to hold the position, working opposite Geoff Robinson. After three-and-a-half years in that role, Maggie moved to host ‘Nine to Noon’ on RNZ National.

In 1992 she moved to television, hosting what became ‘Maggie’s Garden Show’ – a role that would last 12 years – a top ten hit with an audience of 600,000 viewers a week. During that time, Maggie also hosted a midevening news show called ‘Primetime’, and read TV One news.

Maggie has written and presented several TV documentaries, including three Heartland specials, and documentaries including ‘The History of the Rose in New Zealand’ and ‘The Kiwi Bach’.

By 1996 she was voted Woman Personality of the Year by The Listener, was a regular in the Most Trusted New Zealanders Annual Survey, opened the Ellerslie Flower Show, had a rose named for her, and established a successful business for 20 years hosting overseas garden tours. She has published several gardening books, and was appointed to the NZ Order of Merit for her services to broadcasting in the 1996 Queen’s Birthday Honours. She was the Minister for Conservation, Seniors, and Arts, Culture and Heritage in the fifth National government.

At the Long Lunch, guests will also be entertained by ex-Riverdance singer Caitriona Fallon. Only 160 tickets are available to this event and they are selling fast.

The event will take place on Sunday, November 18, from 12pm to 3pm at Mills Reef Winery. Tickets are available from the Garden and Art Festival website via: www.gardenandartfestival.co.nz

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