New restaurant fuses Asian, Pacific tastes

The owners of Queenstown's newest restaurant say there is nothing else like it in New Zealand.

Business partners Karen and Grant Hattaway welcomed more than 120 people to Blue Kanu's official opening on Saturday, complete with a powhiri and blessing from local iwi.

It is the third restaurant the pair have set up in Queenstown in the past 12 years.

They already operate Pier 19 and Captains restaurants, as well as a hospitality consultancy and a catering firm, and employ about 75 people in total.

Ms Hattaway said the pair had come up with a new term to describe the concept behind Blue Kanu, ''Polynasia'', which represented the Polynesian and Asian influences in its food and decor.

The restaurant was the first of its kind in New Zealand.

''The food is hard to describe because you won't find it anywhere else.

''I'm saying to people come along and try and see what you think.''

She wanted its food to continue to develop with creativity in the kitchen and responding to customer feedback.

The restaurant had been a labour of love, and was the result of years of collecting ''thoughts, ideas, fabric, photos, recipes and sayings''.

''About four years ago, I thought there was an opportunity to do something that had a Polynesian feature.

''It's taken that time to put everything together, and we waited for the right venue.''

The restaurant's 237sq m premises in Church St was a large space by Queenstown standards.

''It's a lot of square metreage if you get it wrong.

''With the rents in Queenstown, it doesn't come cheaply - it's not for the faint-hearted.''

Blue Kanu seats 75 inside, and 20 outdoors in the summer.