• Adam Bennett (left) and Smales Farm CEO Paul Gunn.

Bringing the High Life to Takapuna

Adam Bennett on the Shore's new summer festival

At Channel we love our vibrant Shore community and we love those who make it a better place. One such person is passionate Shore local Adam Bennett.

Known for creating great parties, Adam’s got an exciting new event under way for Takapuna this summer –  the Takapuna Food, Wine & Music Festival. It’s happening on Saturday February 10th at Smales Farm. It ticks all the boxes as a venue for the R20 event, creating a relaxed festival vibe within an urban environment. Channel Mag and Benefitz are getting right behind this new local event. In mid-October Channel Mag publisher Aidan Bennett went to find out a bit more about the event and Adam Bennett. They met on site at Smales Farm.

Adam Bennett will be well-known to most as the man behind the Highlife music events, with his Highlife New Years Eve parties pretty much legendary.
He says the concept for the new Takapuna festival was carefully created to combine the most-loved aspects of traditional food and wine festivals and music events to produce an entirely new experience.
“Our Takapuna Food, Wine & Music Festival will be totally unique to New Zealand and we’ve taken inspiration from offshore festivals to create an unforgettable day out for Aucklanders."
Sneaky Sound System, Sola Rosa, The Jordan Luck Band and Nathan Haines lead the 12-strong artist line up for the Takapuna festival.
“By fusing a strong music festival line up with the chance to enjoy award-winning wine from Waiheke, Kumeu, Marlborough, Queenstown, French champagnes, top local craft breweries, and premium cuisine providers, we can truly deliver a new and sophisticated event we know Aucklanders will love.”
Expected to attract a crowd of up to 5,000, the festival will also showcase the possibilities within the innovative ‘next generation neighbourhood’ of Smales Farm to host sizeable public events.
The Smales Farm team is also fizzing about the new event. “We are excited to be working with Adam to deliver this new and iconic event for the Shore and Auckland,” says CEO Paul Gunn. "With our expansive open green spaces, transport options and proximity to Takapuna and the city, we see this partnership as a key step in our journey to share our unique amenities here at Smales Farm with the wider community.
“This summer, we’re already welcoming in 2018 with New Zealand’s first-ever New Year’s Day experience in conjunction with Highlife, and we look forward to having a world-class food and beverage event to follow.”
Waiheke Island’s iconic Man O’ War Vineyard is also excited to be part of the inaugural festival. “We look forward to dragging ourselves away from our little island oasis to show off some of Waiheke’s finest on the Shore,” said Ben Coles, Man O’ War sales manager.
Hallertau beer will also be a popular ingredient and their 'Captain of Beer’ Steve Plowman says the summer buzz of the Festival was a huge attraction. “The whole summer vibe, mates hanging out, is what Hallertau is all about and something we wanted to be part of. Showcasing seasonal brews at the festival will be a great way for visitors to explore what’s new and different in the local craft beer scene.”
Food will clearly be an important part of the mix as well, with New Zealand’s first wood-smoked BBQ joint, Miss Moonshine's, providing its uniquely Kiwi twist on iconic American BBQ cuisine. Pit Boss Ryan Clarke says the opportunity to share their much-loved delicacies across the bridge was an opportunity too good to refuse.
 “We are stoked to be part of the first ever Takapuna Food, Wine & Music Festival in February. Bringing our distinctive smoky flavour and simple concept of meat, beer and fire across to Smales Farm will be a perfect fit for the festival.”
Tickets are very affordable, with general admission at $55 plus booking fee, or VIP at $110 plus booking fee. The VIP package includes side of stage seating and a complementary beverage on arrival. For more information and to secure your tickets, visit
So that’s the event, but what makes Adam Bennett tick? I put these questions to him in an effort to find some answers.

AIDAN: This is one of two events being hosted at Smales Farm. It’s a great venue isn’t it?
Yes, we have a special New Years Day party happening there on January 1st as well. It will be the first of its kind in New Zealand as we bring a new international trend into the market. Smales Farm is an amazing venue and Aucklanders are so lucky they have opened it up for events of this nature and the Food, Wine & Music Festival.
AIDAN: You are well-known for creating great events. Can you share some of the secrets you have learnt over the years you have been doing it?
I can’t reveal all of them but some things that have been key to the success of Highlife is to maintain the level of quality we deliver across all aspects of the event. We have always done our best to put people and the overall experience before profits which has helped to ensure the return of people. Evolving and coming up with innovative new ideas and events has also given us sustainability in this industry.
AIDAN: As a born and bred Shore and Taka boy, you are pretty passionate about your home patch. It must feel great to be establishing a new event for the area with great partners?
To be honest, I am absolutely over the moon that I am in a position and have the opportunity to bring a unique event like this to the Shore and Auckland. Paul (Gunn) and the team at Smales Farm have been amazing to work with and having a premium brand like Mercedes Benz North Shore on board has added so much value to the event as well. We have some of the top wineries and breweries on board from across New Zealand that you wouldn’t usually see sitting under the same umbrella. We have hand-picked some of the best of the best along with some amazing food offerings as well and an incredible line up of music with something for everyone.  
AIDAN: What do you love most about the Shore?
Everything. The people, the beaches, the green spaces, picturesque spots and the nice unique vibe it has. I love the fact that we are out in our own world over here away from the city but still close enough to pop on over if we need to.

AIDAN: Do you have a favourite spot on the Shore?
There are too many to list but Devonport is by far my most favourite area on the Shore but Takapuna down to Devo is filled with so many nice places. Cheltenham beach is one spot in particular I love to relax in over the summer months.

AIDAN: Got any favourite eating out spots on the Shore at the moment?
Honey Café Takapuna, Portofino Devonport, Niko’s Pizza Takapuna, Massimo, Taka Beach Café and the new Yeah Bowl on Bryon Ave.

AIDAN: What is your favourite holiday spot overseas?
Too many to list but either LA or Singapore.

AIDAN: Any favourite music you are listening to at the moment?
Led Zepplin, Calvin Harris, Tupac, Crazibiza, Viceroy, Future, The 9-5ers, Dr Dre and Beastie Boys.

AIDAN: Where do Adam and the family go to relax and get away from things at summer holiday time after the traditional Highlife New Year parties?
Sometimes we like to have a staycation around Takapuna / Devo or other times we will head to Waiheke, Omaha or Queenstown.

Takapuna Food, Wine & Music Festival – Smales Farm, Saturday February 10th 2018. www.takapunafestival.co.nz