Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Made to Measure

Yesterday I wrote a little about the traditional Maori hangi - the method of cooking food underground using steam - and specifically about the hangi I attended recently at Tuahiwi. This one had been organised as the final kai feature for Te Karaka magazine. Over the last four and half years a small team of us from Ngai Tahu's editorial team have travelled to all eighteen of the Ngai Tahu runanga scattered around the South Island, writing cooking and photographing the traditional food speciality of the region.
To celebrate the end of the series, a large hangi was organised at Tuahiwi Marae just north of Christchurch and the marae team catered for around 80 people. You can see the work that went into that in previous posts I have made here (click on hangi or Tuahiwi in the label line below to see those). Part of the editorial process for every kai feature has been the styling and photographing of the dishes created by chef, Jason Dell. Every effort has been made to show off both his culinary skill and the featured traditional food.
At Tuahiwi the locals went to a particular effort, weaving baskets from fresh harakeke (flax) so we could show the hangi food off at its best. I was delighted to come upon this young girl weaving in one of the side rooms. She seemed to be about 12 or 13 but was already adept at weaving. A lovely touch and nice to know that the traditional skills are still being passed on to the younger generations. www.ngaitahu.iwi.nz

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