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The New Zealand Maori has a Unique Food Culture and one that has been suppressed for so long . In their regional areas some share with neighboring Iwi credit in certain delicacies such as shell fish, fish, river fish, and tubers namely the Kumara or sweet potato. Some with added Mana or prestige to an Iwi making their hospitality status stand out as best provider of  foods prepared of a particular speciality

Coastal Iwi would have fishing camps near the fishing grounds. Inland Iwi would negotiate access to these grounds following examples below of the traditional fishing timeframe's set in the Luna calendar year we refer to as Matariki.

Maori or tangata Whenua of New Zealand are culturally rich, adaptable, and strive collectively in their persistent quest to preserve, protect and promote their cultural heritage  A culture they share willingly knowing that their spirits will live forever.  The willingness to share freely however was soon taken advantage of in the early part of the 1800's by a  superior race over 200 hundred years ago. But alas amends are happening and hopefully a return to a more stable society will once again prevail. Identifying food sources in the regions in pre European times was a matter of territorial ownership and some Iwi were very protective of their resources. A short list however identified the lower regions grew in great abundance, crops such as kumara, melons, goulds or Hue, Kohetake, Poroporo, Kouka,

  Protecting and Blessing Fishing Grounds

Incantations must be offered to Tangaroa (the guardian of the sea) before fishing. If someone drowns, no-one may fish there until Tangaroa returns the dead. The first fish taken is returned to the sea with a karakia (prayer) to invite gods to bring an abundance of fish to the hooks. No eating or smoking is allowed in the boat during a fishing expedition. Body wastes infringe tapu and none must enter the sea from the beach. In some places, kaimoana cannot be eaten on the beach - it must be taken home and prepared for eating there. Large canoes, eel weirs and nets are protected by tapu.

Facts To Know About

In the 1800s the Kiwi was hunted for its feathers whilst its carcase was simply tossed aside. It was known that at its peak 3000 kiwis were slaughtered during one session so that their feathers could be used to adorn hats worn by fashion conscious people in Europe 

Seaweed would be bought up into the mountains to entertain our people. The trick being to guess what weather mother nature would bring the next day.

If the seaweed dried out, hot weather  could be predicted If the seaweed was getting damp or wet it would predict  rain or mist come morning.

The early Maori folk knew that it was always damp up in the mountains so the seaweed would never dry out. They would test the younger ones to amuse themselves

Seaweed kelp was used to carry water great distances similar today of course now we use bottles.  Hue (Gourds) or the calabash was another vessel used to carry and store food.

The prized Harore was eaten. This mushroom had a very short life span of two days max after which it would dissolve. They could be found on the sides of the Totara tree out of direct sunlight where dampness would speed their growth and maturity ready for eating.

Tawhara or Teure displayed here was gathered to adorn tables or offered as a wild fruit to guests try this native delicacy. This plant had in its center soft floral petals when ripe would dissolve immediately when eaten. It has a  mellow lemonee lychee flavor.

Maori  elders would also pick the inside petals and ferment it with sugar and Manuka flowers to make beer. Even children would dip into it to enjoy its flavors again not so much to get drunk but because it really was a nice drink.

Traditional Maori fishing operations were very well organized. Different tribes had their own fishing areas. Tribal boundaries were marked by landmarks and stakes and protected against trespassers. Fishing was often a community activity. Tasks involved everything from observing the movement of schools of fish and making gear, to catching and processing the fish.

Early Maori knew a great deal about the life cycles of different fish. A fishing calendar was developed to work out when certain fish should be caught, what techniques to use, and whether it should be during the day or night.
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Dr Rose Pere and the intricacies of Maori Lore and our food

Facts To Know About

When Māori (New Zealand's indigenous people) first arrived in New Zealand from tropical Polynesia, they brought with them a number of food plants, including kūmara (sweet potato), taro, tī plants, as well as dogs and rats which were also eaten. The plants grew well only in the north of the North Island, and would not grow at all in the colder parts of the South Island. Native New Zealand plants such as fernroot became a more important part of the diet, along with insects such as the huhu grub. Problems with horticulture were made up for by an abundance of bird and marine life. The large flightless moa were soon hunted to extinction. Rāhui (resource restrictions) included forbidding the hunting of certain species in particular places or at certain times of year, so that the numbers could regenerate.

Video Library

There are many whanau and people who are just amazed how the Internet has opened huge doors used to promote and project their skills and energies on Presentations.

We have collected a few of whanau and people here to show you  how they are the using the Internet for this purpose. It is amazing and we have utilized its power as well to promote our Maori Food Kaupapa

A lot of these clips will be free because they are freely available online however where our skills are concerned connected to training  online, teaching and spreading the skills of many of our members. There will be a cost involved BUT it will be far cheaper online than it would be to learn in the traditional sense.

Traditional Works adapted into the new world - here a Waka Taua is carved in chocolate

Protecting our Culinary Cultural Heritage

Maori have strong beliefs about protecting fisheries resources from pollution. For example, it is forbidden to gut fish in the open seas or throw small fish, excess bait, food or rubbish into the water. Waste like this is seen as attracting predators and polluting sensitive habitats

Networking with Our Iwi

Kaimoana was a very important trading item. Coastal tribes traded it with inland Iwi for goods such as birds, East Coast trading in vegetables berries or workable stone. In Canterbury, Kaipoihai pa was a trading pa with eight different gates. It was similar to European trading sites in the middle ages. When Europeans arrived, Maori were already trading amongst themselves and later on with them. Maori bartered for vegetables, fish, tools, slaves, gifts and other goods daily. It was through trading amongst Maori that the early settlers were able to survive in early New Zealand but over time history would tell us that things for Maori were to change forever. .

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