Young Achiever proud to be part of ‘ocean-to-plate story’

‘A COG IN THE WHEEL’: Gisborne commercial fishing boat skipper Matt Howden won a Young Achiever Award at the New Zealand Seafood Industry Conference but said he and his crew were “just a small part of a larger team effort”. The former Kaikoura man owns the boat Hakuwai. Picture supplied

Gisborne fisherman Matt Howden was the proud recipient of a Young Achiever Award at the New Zealand Seafood Industry Conference in Queenstown.

Matt, owner and skipper of the fishing vessel Hakuwai, said he was thrilled to win the award but referred to himself as “just a cog in the wheel” of a supportive industry in Gisborne.

“We are just a small part of a larger team effort — part of the ocean-to-plate story,” said the 25-year-old, who was nominated for the award by Gisborne Fisheries managing director Salve Zame.

Matt knew he had been nominated but wasn’t expecting to win one of four Young Achiever awards given out at the two-day conference.

“It’s great to feel appreciated by the industry. It’s all about quality over quantity these days and our fish supplies a lot of Gisborne restaurants and fish shops.”

He acknowledged the help and support of Sheryl O’Connor from Gisborne Fisheries — his “go-to for all those tricky specialist questions”.

Matt joined the industry out of school. His first job was on a fishing charter vessel at Kaikoura.

He quickly showed leadership skills that saw him gain his skipper’s certificate, buy his own vessel and employ crew at an early age.

He moved to Gisborne 4½ years ago to work for Richard Kibblewhite, who encouraged him to buy the Hakuwai in February 2017.

Matt said he liked nothing more than being at sea, where he and deckhand Baylee Reriti bottom-trawled for species like tarakihi, gurnard and snapper.

“I like the isolation out there . . . when I leave my land-life behind. We fish from as far east as East Cape and Hicks Bay to as far south as Portland Island, east of Mahia.”

Matt is also a passionate advocate for educating his crew and the wider fishing community on the importance of protecting seabirds,

Seafood Stars Awards are presented in three categories at the Seafood New Zealand-run conference — Future Development Innovation, Young Achiever and Longstanding Service.

Matt enjoyed his time in Queenstown, which included skiing at Coronet Peak, albeit in “pretty poor” visibility, after his flight was cancelled due to low cloud.



Gisborne fisherman Matt Howden was the proud recipient of a Young Achiever Award at the New Zealand Seafood Industry Conference in Queenstown.

Matt, owner and skipper of the fishing vessel Hakuwai, said he was thrilled to win the award but referred to himself as “just a cog in the wheel” of a supportive industry in Gisborne.

“We are just a small part of a larger team effort — part of the ocean-to-plate story,” said the 25-year-old, who was nominated for the award by Gisborne Fisheries managing director Salve Zame.

Matt knew he had been nominated but wasn’t expecting to win one of four Young Achiever awards given out at the two-day conference.

“It’s great to feel appreciated by the industry. It’s all about quality over quantity these days and our fish supplies a lot of Gisborne restaurants and fish shops.”

He acknowledged the help and support of Sheryl O’Connor from Gisborne Fisheries — his “go-to for all those tricky specialist questions”.

Matt joined the industry out of school. His first job was on a fishing charter vessel at Kaikoura.

He quickly showed leadership skills that saw him gain his skipper’s certificate, buy his own vessel and employ crew at an early age.

He moved to Gisborne 4½ years ago to work for Richard Kibblewhite, who encouraged him to buy the Hakuwai in February 2017.

Matt said he liked nothing more than being at sea, where he and deckhand Baylee Reriti bottom-trawled for species like tarakihi, gurnard and snapper.

“I like the isolation out there . . . when I leave my land-life behind. We fish from as far east as East Cape and Hicks Bay to as far south as Portland Island, east of Mahia.”

Matt is also a passionate advocate for educating his crew and the wider fishing community on the importance of protecting seabirds,

Seafood Stars Awards are presented in three categories at the Seafood New Zealand-run conference — Future Development Innovation, Young Achiever and Longstanding Service.

Matt enjoyed his time in Queenstown, which included skiing at Coronet Peak, albeit in “pretty poor” visibility, after his flight was cancelled due to low cloud.



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