Popular Auckland restaurant Vivace has avoided being put into liquidation – for now.

In August, the Inland Revenue Department applied to liquidate Vivace Restaurant. 

The matter was called on Friday in the high court at Auckland.

However, with agreement of the company’s and IRD's counsel, Jacque Lethbridge and Cloete Van Der Merwe respectively, Justice Geoffrey Venning granted an adjournment.

Lethbridge told the court the company was a casualty of covid-19.

The company’s directors were “working hard” with financiers to repay the debt to the tax department, she said.

If it's not settled before March, the matter will be heard then.


Owned by Mandy and Antony Lusk, Danny Phipps and Eugene Gibson, the restaurant has been in Auckland’s CBD for more than 20 years.

Mandy Lusk was a regular commentator on the impact covid restrictions had on hospitality during the height of the pandemic. 

Vivace’s former head chef Nicholas Holland, who helped set up and open the restaurant, was recently appointed head chef at DeBretts Kitchen.


Separately, Stats NZ released monthly retail card spending figures on Friday, showing total card spending of $9.3 billion in November, up 10.5%, from the same month a year earlier when the upper North Island still faced some restrictions.

Hospitality reported the largest increase, up $368 million, or $43.6%, at $1.2b.

On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, spending rose 0.3% in November, driven by a 0.6% increase in spending on consumable items, such as groceries and liquor.

Spending on durable items, such as furniture, hardware and appliances, fell 1.1%.

Back to pre-covid

Earlier this week, the Restaurant Association released a report which found nationwide sales for the industry had bounced back after two years impacted by covid.

In 2022, the sector had record sales of more than $13.38b for the year ended September, representing an increase of 7.7% on the previous year.

According to publicly available records, of the 186 liquidations last month, 14 were hospitality businesses.