Celebrate Matariki in Rotorua

Celebrate Matariki in Rotorua

As the Matariki star cluster Pleiades appears over our southern skies to signal the Māori New Year, Rotorua will celebrate with a range of free events, including a kai (food) competition.  

Matariki is a time to gather with family and friends, to reflect on the past, celebrate the present, and plan for the future.  It's also a time to enjoy kai (food), waiata (song), tākaro (games) and haka (dance).

On Sunday 30 June, Rotorua Farmers Market will celebrate with Ngā Kai a Matariki (The Foods of Matariki) competition.

Six local hotels/caterers will be creating canapes using indigenous ingredients in a contemporary way. 

The canapes must include at least two indigenous items from this list: pikopiko, horopito, kawakawa, rīwai, kumara, rēwena paraoa (Māori bread), tuna, kōura, tītī, kina, tarakihi, kuku, moemoe, mānuka, pāua. 

Rotorua Economic Development’s business development manager Fraser Hungerford says Rotorua has an incredible indigenous story to share through food.

“Rotorua’s Māori history, strong stories, fertile landscape and native plants make it a hub for indigenous foods. Traditional plants like pikopiko, horopito and kawakawa have been used in Māori cooking for generations, so seeing them used in contemporary ways is always exciting.”

Twenty community judges will be recruited to taste all the dishes and vote for their favourite. The winning hotel/caterer will receive a trophy, sponsored and created by Toa architects and a $1000 local media package from More FM to use on radio or digital advertising.

Arts and Culture business development manager Joanne Doherty says Rotorua is also celebrating this special time with a wide range of free events around the region, from family events to craft days, talks to musical performances.

“Rotorua is a place steeped in Māori culture, so it’s important that we embrace the significance of this time of year.

“There are plenty of ways to get involved and you can check out the fun range of activities and events at www.rotorualakescouncil.nz/whatson with a Matariki specific calendar and the Rotorua Events Guide for Winter 2019.”

For more information on how to be a judge for the Ngā Kai a Matariki - The Foods of Matariki Competition, follow the Rotorua Farmers Market Facebook page.

Photo caption: Ngā Kai a Matariki 2018 winning canape by Chef Jim Tawa from Millennium Hotel