Kai (Māori cuisine) is loved by New Zealanders. Here's why there's no better way to experience Aotearoa than through your taste buds.

Kai (Māori cuisine ) is celebrated across Aotearoa. From fine dining experiences led by top fusion chefs to hāngī takeaways, kai makes the most of traditional food flavours from forest, sea, river and field.

Northland & Bay of Islands
Trying kina at Omapere, Northland & Bay of Islands

Local recommendations

Travelling through Aotearoa you'll notice Māori flavours everywhere, from kaimoana (seafood) and the unusual kina (sea urchin) to flavours from the native bush like pikopiko (fern shoots), kawakawa, horopito or other greens like kōwhitiwhiti (watercress) or pūhā (sow thistle), which is often partnered with pork. 

Pork is also a staple of the traditional ‘boil up’ – a wonderful broth also containing root vegetables, which you can try at the Hangi Shop in South Auckland, along with other favourites like Rewana bread. 

Or, why not try mouth-watering hāngi – a traditional cooking method where food is steamed underground. You can grab it to take away or eat in. Try Auckland's Māori Kitchen.

Kai (Māori cuisine) and performance 

A visit to Te Puia and Pohutu geyser in Rotorua is not complete without a hāngi buffet lunch(opens in new window) or dinner at Pātaka Kai(opens in new window).

The food is a fusion of Māori and international flavours, from corn and watercress soup to chicken steamed underground.Or head to nearby Te Pā Tū for culture and kai (Māori cuisine) served together. You'll experience Māori history, traditions, and future aspirations across four hours of celebration and feasting.

Each year it celebrates a Māori chef, inviting them to design and curate a taotaka kai (menu) of seasonal kai.

Feast Matariki

Numerous kai (food) workshops and events are happening all across the country to celebrate Matariki, the Māori New Year. Visit Feast Matariki(opens in new window) to learn more about kai events that might be happening near you. 

This is a great opportunity for those who want to learn about the significance of food in Māori culture, which goes beyond the act of eating.

Four of the whetū (stars) on the Matariki cluster are associated to food:

  • Tupuānuku: food grown in the ground. 
  • Tupuārangi: food that comes from the sky.
  • Waitā: food that comes from the ocean. 
  • Waitī: food sourced from fresh water. 

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Where to try Māori foods

These experiences offer the chance to taste amazing Māori cuisine.

Find māori experiences


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