Mangawhai Butchers Sharpest On The Block At Regional Competition


Butchers from across the upper North Island sharpened their knives and brought their best practice to the fore to kick start this year’s national Alto Butcher and ANZCO Foods Butcher Apprentice of the Year competitions, at the first regional held in Auckland this weekend.

It was a close call, but after a fierce competition Dan Klink from Mangawhai Meat Shop, Mangawhai placed first in the Alto Butcher of the Year category and it was a tie in the ANZCO Foods Butcher Apprentice of the Year category with Dylan Thompson also from Mangawhai Meat Shop claiming first spot alongside Cherise Redden from Countdown Meat & Seafood.

This was the first regional competition in a national series to find New Zealand’s top butchers to compete in a Grand Final showdown in August, culminating in a glitzy dinner – a highlight of the industry’s year. The Upper North Island competition involved the butchers breaking down a size 16 chicken, a boneless beef rump and a full pork loin into a display of value-added products.

Dan Klink is a regular at the Alto Butcher of the Year competition and previous winner of the Upper North Island title having taken it out in 2016.

“I’m absolutely ecstatic, I put a lot of time and effort into practising for it. I’m from a small, rural town so it means a lot to bring something back like this for the shop and the community. And for my apprentice Dylan to tie for first yesterday in the ANZCO Foods Butcher Apprentice competition is amazing. I think we might have to put a parade on for the shop.”

Cherise Redden, from Countdown Meat & Seafood, finished runner-up overall in the ANZCO Foods Butcher Apprentice competition last year and set a high standard for 2019.

“It’s an awesome feeling to win the competition especially being on home turf.  I also think having experience at other competitions gave me the confidence to try a few more technical cuts which may have given me the edge.”

Dylan Thompson was also returning for a second year to the ANZCO Foods Butcher Apprentice competition having reached the final last year.

“It’s amazing to win as I have put in so much practice.  I picked up from what I did last year and built on that, incorporating other ideas and practised every day after work, which has obviously really paid off and now I cannot wait for the final!”

Dan, Dylan and Cherise will now continue on to the Grand Final, on Thursday 8 August in Auckland, where they will further showcase their cutting skills, creativity and knowledge of the trade against the best in the country.

Head Judge and Captain of New Zealand’s Butchery team, the Hellers Sharp Blacks, Corey Winder has been involved in the competition for 20 years now and says the skills needed to become a great butcher are ever-growing.

“The standard of butchery today was making it really hard to judge. It came down to the finer details this weekend to select our winners. From a spectator’s point of view, you probably wouldn’t be able to split them, it could just come down to the stringing of a product, making sure the knots are even and presentable or not wearing their boning glove. Dan [Klink] executed really well, he was organised, his display was clean and crisp and when you looked at the finished article you wanted to eat it. He deserves this win.

“In terms of the ANZCO Foods Butcher Apprentices, we were so impressed with the high standard this year amongst the apprentices.  They have really raised the bar and it was a very close competition. It’s very positive for the industry to have such talent coming through the ranks.” Winder said.

The competition is proudly sponsored by Alto, ANZCO Foods, Wilson Hellaby, Alliance, Beef + Lamb New Zealand, Competenz, Dunninghams, Tegel and Hellers.

The dates for the remaining regionals are as follows:

  • Lower North Island - Friday 21 June, Wellington

  • Lower South Island - Friday 28 June, Dunedin

  • Upper South Island - Saturday 29 June, Christchurch

For more information, please contact:

Lisa Moloney                                                                                                  
Retail Meat New Zealand                                                      
09 489 0871 or 027 632 1644


Kit Arkwright
Retail Meat New Zealand

09 869 2994 or 022 457 0557