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Before the arrival of Pakeha (fair skinned people), Maori had no metal or ceramic cooking vessels. Methods of cookery were severely limited the only containers to hold liquid were Hue (gourds) Wooden Bowls Or Vessels made from stone.

Maori understood the perfection of wet steam & smoke (Hangi). Maori could roast and bake in the open fire and bake in hot ashes. They could grill on hot stones but had no means of frying, nor did they bake or pot roast in dry heat. The diet was light on protein and included no grain- food products as a carbohydrate base.

Maori were very highly skilled in the art of hunting, fishing and cultivation, and possessed great ingenuity in creating Hakari (Banquets) from limited cooking resources. With the introduction of foreign foods and cooking equipment, Maori were quick to adapt to the ever changing needs of every day living taking into consideration the wisdom to cherish and retain many foods and culinary methods of the past. Yet within these limitations their cuisine was wide ranging, nutritious and appetising. When the Pakeha (fair skinned) people introduced different foods and equipment, Maori were quick to grasp their advantage.

During the Colonial era Maori learned to use European foods and methods, and to adapt them to their own tastes, at the same time retaining many of our favourite early methods of indigenous foodstuffs and their health qualities. As we make comparisons of the past and the cooking styles and techniques of today, this menu will bring together a great taste of New Zealand.

Charles P.T Royal
Ringawera/ Chef

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