Indigenous kai stars in Hawke's Bay festival
05 Oct 2010
Kai in the Bay - Hawke’s Bay
13 November 2010
Traditional and contemporary Maori kai and ‘outside the square’ wildfood is the focus of Kai in the Bay, a new indigenous food festival set in the Hawke’s Bay region of the North Island.
Visitors will be able to sample an array of Kiwi kai (food), from roast pig on a spit and whitebait fritters to traditional Maori fare such as huhu grubs, kumara, rewena (Maori bread), titi (muttonbirds) and parengo (crayfish).
More than 50 food traders and exhibitors will take part in the event, with both Maori and European chefs holding cooking demonstrations using traditional Maori ingredients.
Organisers of Kai in the Bay say they want the festival to combine the best of two of New Zealand’s most popular events - the Hokitika Wildfoods Festival and Waikato’s Kawhia Kai Festival.
Event manager Christine Shanahan says that the demand for tickets has been high and that the festival is perfect for international visitors.
"This festival is the only opportunity in the Bay to taste unique treasured foods in a stunning location. It promises to be a special celebration bringing together people from different walks of life, an educational opportunity and a chance to taste yummy kai, infused with quality New Zealand entertainment."
Food for thought
Festival organiser Henry Heke says that the festival is also about educating people to think about what they are eating.
"Most people don’t realise that traditional Maori food is far healthier than eating fast foods, and if we all ate like our forefathers, basic food from the land and the sea, we wouldn’t have issues like diabetes and heart disease."
Former All Black captain Taine Randell has been chosen as patron of the festival, to promote the healthy living message.
"Food is medicine and the more we can eat fresh and nutritious food, the less health problems we will have in the future," says Randell.
The festival will be held at Napier’s Perfume Point Reserve in Ahuriri along the waterfront. In-keeping with a traditional Maori feast, there will be entertainment during the day including kapa haka performances and live music.
Kai - traditional Maori food
Traditional Māori believed that the earth was the giver of all life. From the soil, came food and that same food was cooked beneath the earth.
Kai is the Maori word for food and includes food that has been hunted, gathered or grown on land or sea. Early Maori were hunters, gatherers and crop farmers whose diet was based around birds and fish, supplemented by wild herbs and roots. In their tribal gardens, Maori also grew root vegetables such as kumara and taewa tutaekuri (Maori potatoes).
Some examples of Maori kai include mutton bird, greenlipped mussels, puha (leafy greens), kowhitiwhiti (watercress), eel, oysters, rotten corn and kina (sea eggs). One of the most popular methods of cooking kai was in a hangi, or earth oven.
Food cooked in a traditional hangi is lowered into a hole dug in the ground and placed on top of hot stones. The food is covered with a cloth and a mound of earth which traps the heat from the stones and slowly cooks the food.
A modern day hangi is more likely to involve wrapping food in tinfoil and placing it in wire baskets before lowering into the earth oven.
Kai - traditional Maori food
Matariki - comfort food from the past
A taste of New Zealand cuisine
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