New Zealand Butchers Broadcast a World First

New Zealand’s flagship butchery competition pulled off what is believed to be a world-first in broadcasting. The Alto Young Butcher of the Year, ANZCO Foods Butcher Apprentice and the Pure South Master Butcher of the Year competitions were livestreamed around the world with the help of commentators, roving reporters, sponsor ad breaks, a 30-strong production crew, three cameras, a nine metre-long camera jib and a lighting rig measuring a whopping 38 metres in circumference.

Like many events impacted by Covid-19, the prospect of bringing together close to 20 competitors along with the hundreds of friends and family who usually come to support, seemed to be asking the impossible only a few months ago.

However, Pippa Hawkins, General Manager of Retail Meat New Zealand – the organisation responsible for putting on the competition – had other ideas. “When New Zealand, like the rest of the world, was thrown into lockdown we thought the competition would have to be postponed, but we put our thinking caps on and came up with a plan. Rather than bringing spectators to the competition, we’d bring the competition to the spectators.”

That set-in motion a plan into uncharted territory. Organising and producing a broadcast more akin to a professional sporting event or political election night than a butchery competition. 

Rod Slater – chair of the World Butchers’ Challenge which is widely regarded as the ‘Olympics of Butchery’ – was one of the three-strong commentating panel who were guiding viewers through the action on the night.

“I’ve been involved in butchery competitions for over 40 years. When I started, it consisted of a few butchers in a tent with little to no glitz and glamour. What we saw last night has set the benchmark for how to showcase the rock stars of our industry to the world.”

To date, the livestream video has been viewed close to 5,000 times with an estimated wider audience of over 18,000 taking into account the ‘watch parties’ cheering on their butchers from home. The event received primetime television coverage in New Zealand but most importantly talented Kiwi butchers were showcased on the world stage.

On the night, James Smith from PAK’nSAVE Pukekohe won the prestigious Alto Young Butcher of the Year title, Blair Wright from Peter Timbs Meats in Christchurch was crowned ANZCO Foods Butcher Apprentice and Rob Lees from Warkworth Butchery took out the Pure South Master Butcher of the Year.

The competition was proudly sponsored by Alto Packaging, ANZCO Foods, Pure South, Beef + Lamb New Zealand, Competenz, Dunninghams, Hellers, Tegel and Wilson Hellaby. To view all the action please head to Retail Meat Zealand’s website HERE.