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Robert Oliver’s Kai Pasifika celebrates the unique cuisine of the Pacific people Robert Oliver’s Kai Pasifika celebrates the unique cuisine of the Pacific people

New Zealand Embraces Māori Food Revolution

Incorporating Māori tradition and unique indigenous foods into their menus, New Zealand chefs have been spearheading a kai (food) revolution.

The country’s tourism board, Tourism New Zealand, reports traditional cuisine is now celebrated at hundreds of local restaurants and cafés. “Recently, the influence of Māori tradition and indigenous kai have been recognised as nationally recognised taonga (treasures), providing a point of difference that innovative cooks and chefs are proud to incorporate in their menus,” noted Tourism New Zealand.

Additionally, the tourism board went on to list some of the trend’s leading chefs; Monique Fiso returned to Auckland from New York City’s Michelin-starred The Musket Room to create Hiakai (hungry,) a pop-up series dedicated to the development of Māori cooking techniques and ingredients; Jeremy Rameka’s Pacifica, on the Napier waterfront, was named Cuisine magazine’s 2017 New Zealand Restaurant of the Year. His menu of modern dishes is inspired by memories of family meals; and Rex Morgan from Wellington, a French cooking technique expert, adapted his style to include Māori influence and ingredients.

Also listed are innovators; Jade Temepara of Christchurch’s Kākano Café and Cookery School, Massey University’s executive chef Sean Kereama, and Kai Pasifika restaurant’s Robert Oliver, Auckland.