Matariki in Kerikeri


Time to gather and share kai. Time to connect and reconnect, remembering our ancestors and honoring them, exploring everything that we did this year, everything we conquered and the projects that failed…allowing ourselves a space to heal and accept.

With every lesson comes learning, with every wish comes hope, with every tradition comes memories and nostalgia…but also with every end, new beginnings rise on the horizon, with a cluster of shining bright stars that illuminate the night and marks the start of a new year.

Hāngi is a traditional New Zealand Māori method of cooking food using heated rocks buried in a pit oven, called an umu. It is still used for large groups on special occasions.

Robin Peterson was selling hāngi at the Kerikeri Farmers Market. He was a bit shy but wearing a big smile. I asked what was Matariki for him and why he was selling hāngi at the market. He replied that for him Matariki was honoring his ancestors and hāngi was the traditional way to celebrate, share and commemorate the ones that are not here.

That day he prepared 63 portions of a big hāngi for people in Kerikeri, at the local farmers market. Everything else was food from all over the world (crepes, waffles, BBQ, dumplings and croissants).

As soon as I saw him I knew that it was an amazing find, realizing that he was one of the only Māori vendors at the market and especially selling the traditional food.

The way he was connected to the earth, with the kumara and pumpkin that he himself grew on his land. In the end, I asked him if he wanted the photos I just took of him and with that big smile he told me…”Nah mate, don’t have email, facebook or social media,” and then I laughed knowing that he didn’t need anything like that, his affinity with land and traditions was stronger.

View the rest of the images here.

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Words and Images by Kaitaki Collective Member - Muriel Rodriguez. Venezualen & Food Enthusiast. @rabirubia

I am a Venezuelan woman living in Kerikeri, New Zealand. I graduated from University with a degree in Hospitality and Tourism and went straight to work for a boutique hotel as a manager in a Caribbean Islands called Los Roques. After a couple of years I moved to Spain and jumped into the world of super yachts, where I sailed the world for 3 years, and along the way met my partner Jesse. We spent the next year sailing around the South Pacific Islands before making the move to dry land to raise our baby girl. I love food, wine, photography and storytelling. I am currently working at Māha Restaurant in Wharepuke, Kerikeri. @maha_restaurant_kerikeri

Words by eatnewzealand