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Food Sovereignty

Food Sovereignty

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I’ve just come back from a couple of days in Kaikōura, where the community held a food hui to try and get local food back on their plates. It was particularly meaningful to me because exactly four years earlier (almost to the day), I was part of a small convey who traversed the broken roads of the Hundalee Hills with a truck full of fresh food and an inflatable boat. The earthquake had completely isolated Kaikōura and they had run out of fresh food. They were spraying milk on paddocks because there was no local pasteurisation, they couldn’t process meat and there wasn’t enough fruit & vegetables grown locally to feed anyone at scale.

We were planning a pop-up Farmers Market, and we knew this would work because we’d done something similar in Mt Pleasant after the Christchurch Earthquake. We made the Kaikōura coast with our precious cargo and found a slipway which still reached the ocean, the laden inflatable met a fishing boat anchored offshore which could make it back to the peninsula, and the resulting Farmers Market was a huge success.

Four years later the Kaikōura community understand very well the importance of food resilience, but they’re still struggling to ensure it’s their local food on their plates. This is important not just because of resilience in the face of uncertainty, but also because food is the way they tell the story of their unique and beautiful part of Aotearoa. The name says it all- Kaikōura, a place to eat Crayfish. There is a huge opportunity to tell this story to travellers, whether they be domestic or international and their kai is intrinsically connected to their identity.

Allowing this community to self-determine their food access is an important part of any food story we tell about ourselves as a nation. This is what Food Sovereignty looks like for Aotearoa. The wonderful thing is, if we allow this to flourish we weave a rich, diverse and authentic food story we can present to the rest of the world, keen to buy our food over there. It’s a win win.

What does Food Sovereignty look like for your community? How would you like to express yourselves through food? What is important to find on your plates that you share with your whānau, friends and visitors?

Let us know! We’d love to hear.

Kaikōura supermarket after earthquake. | Farmers Market a few days later.

Kaikōura Crayfest: 24th - 29th Nov

Crayfish pizza, cray pies, crayfish stuffed agnolotti, whole tails, cray fritters, crayfish tacos and even crayfish filled dumplings! This week marks the ingural Kaikōura Crayfest 2020 a week-long festival that celebrates the highly revered kaimoana of this place. With over 18 eateries across town serving up fabulous Crayfish dishes for locals and visitors, the hope is that this will be the first of many crayfish feasts in this resilient sea side town. Eating crayfish in Kaikōura was rated as the 7th best food experience in the world, on a list published by Lonely Plant which covered 500 of the top food experiences across the world. If you are lucky enough to find yourself in the region this week, grab the whanau and check out the likes of: Karaka Lobster, Nin's Bin, Black Rabbit Pizza and Bernie's Diner. Read about Cray-z-ness here.

Take me to the CRAY!

Support our Kaitaki with Crayfish + Cheese

Speaking of crayfish, our Kaitaki members, Troy & Claire of Tora Collective have just launched a national delivery service for caught-to-order crayfish and pāua. Pre-orders are open now and the first delivery (in home compostable ice packs) will head out on Dec 4th to both the North and South Island. Restaurants can also get in touch for wholesale pricing. Keep an eye on their IG @tora_collective for updates.


And if you are looking for further ways to support our Kaitaki this Christmas, another member of our Kaitaki Collective, James Thomas has an online cheese store where he heroes small NZ cheese producers. You can take a look at the shop and start stocking up for Christmas guests here.


Recently James collaborated with Auckland-based Photographer, Zico O'Neill @zicooneill, and captured a powerful collection of images to celebrate Mercer Cheese, a small award-winning NZ cheesemaker based in Onewhero in North Waikato.

"The aim of this photopraphy series was to highlight all of the important factors that are influential in the quality of the cheese, but those that aren't seen in the final product. The photos focus on the quirks of a factory built by the cheesemaker himself, the spring water heated by fire, the health of the cows, the proximity of the milking shed. Along with the factory, the soil and the environment within which those cows live in." - James Thomas @nzcheese.

Remember to stay tuned across our platforms as we continue to share the stories from our Eat New Zealand collective of young New Zealand food guides. #kaitaki

Regional Food Events

A round up of food-focused events, festivals and celebrations happening in the next few months...

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