Matariki in Marlborough

Matariki Feast
Matariki Feast

A time for Whanau to come together and nature to be celebrated

What better way to celebrate our shared love of kai than through an evening night feast with whanau. Matariki is a time to celebrate coming together and appreciating the natural gifts of the land and the sea.

Together in the Marlborough region we set out to gather varieties of seafood and create a feast where we were all able to bring our offerings together to the table and create a meal as a family, dedicating utter recognition and respect to our land. We recognise the skies and the stars as we collect, and are taught of their correlations to the land and the ocean and we give thanks for being able to share kai amongst us all.

Paua is one of the enduring symbols of a healthy ecosystem in New Zealand, something we are passionate about maintaining. We are lucky enough to be able to harvest Paua by free diving in the Tory Channel, a place where the clearest waters provide the perfect home for this unique species. Oh… and did I mention how delicious they are!!! Lightly shallowed fried in garlic salt, or sliced thinly and eaten raw; it sure is one of the finest gifts of Marlborough.

Not only do Kina boast a rich, creamy flavour, they also hold many health benefits good for the heart; it’s no wonder Kina have been a traditional component of Māori diet since pre-European times! Gathered from the Marlborough sounds, we prized the Kina open to extract their roe; a unique tasting delicacy you wouldn't want to miss out on trying when in Marlborough!

Nothing says oysters like the Croisilles Harbour. Freshly collected from the previous day’s harvest, theses Marlborough oysters have a sweet pure flavour and a slightly salty taste. While there are so many different ways to prepare this versatile treasure, we personally can’t go past a freshly shucked, natural oyster taste with a little squeeze of lemon on the side! The perfect and hassle-free way for everyone around the tablet to indulge and appreciate.

The Green Lipped Mussel is endemic to New Zealand and was a part of the traditional kaimoana for Maori. These mussels hold natural nutritional value as well as providing anti-inflammatory health benefits- we can see why they should be a staple part of everyone’s diets (we wish!)

Crayfish is one of new Zealand's finest delicacies and as a family of cray fishermen we are passionate about protecting the longevity and ensuring there are plenty crays in the ocean for future generations. We are hooked on the notion of sustainable fishing and protection of Koura, after all; they are the kings of the shellfish kingdom! Crayfish are delicious both eaten cold or warm, with their sweet flavour empowering every mouthful. Grilled with garlic butter or chilli and lime is one of our all-time favourite ways to prepare Koura!

We see the odd octopus or two sneak in to our cray pots, and while most find them a pest, we love the bonus catch. Octopus parachute sliced in to thin strips delicately brushed with salt and pepper flour is one of our favourites! Try adding some parsley and chili flakes to add a little more colour and a lot more kick!

When celebrating Matariki, we are reminded of our connection to whenua and how important it is to nurture it and preserve its precious gifts. We remember loved ones; those lost and present, and we take the time to exist together simply with passion and camaraderie. Such connected feelings are something we no longer so often experience, and gives a bright light to why Matariki is such special part of our lives.

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Words and images by Kaitaki Collective Members - Ash Reader & Zali Thomas – Crayfishers @karakalobster

We are Ash and Zali - passionate Crayfishers from Clarence, Kaikoura. We come from a family of fishermen where sustainable cray fishing is both a hobby and lifestyle. As a small and new family business we are passionate about growth, longevity and our connection to Marlborough. The Kaikōura coast line gives generously to those who know how to take sustainably, and through this Kaitaki project we hope to further discover the great gifts of Aotearoa, to spread our unique story and to endeavour to teach others about our region and how we so meticulously care for it.

Words by eatnewzealand