Tino Reka te Kai - Waikato Matariki Dish Challenge

Waikato Matariki Dish Challenge

Hosted by Waikato Food Inc

Back for its fifth year Waikato Food Inc’s 2019 Tino Reka te Kai Matariki Dish Challenge is once again putting the Waikato and New Zealand cuisine on the map. Each winter local chefs sharpen their knives and create a dish celebrating both Matariki (Maori New Year) and Waikato produce.

The purpose of Tino Reka te Kai Matariki Dish Challenge is to act as a platform for showcasing this seasonal celebration through food, with local Waikato eateries using local produce to create speciality dishes. With over 25 eateries involved in the past their task is to utilise the bounty of the land, sea and sky in their dishes and represent the stories of Matariki through these elements. Each establishment must come up with a title related to the Matariki stories and have detailed knowledge of the local produce used in the dish. This creates a vital exchange of knowledge between eateries and the public as they taste and get to know each dish. This may be someone's first time encountering Matariki and provides the opportunity to share key insights about this important kiwi celebration, all through the vehicle of food. The challenge also showcases the talent, skills and cultural awareness of the food and hospitality industry in the Waikato, while encouraging each establishment to learn more about this important seasonal celebration.

Over the years an abundance of creative concepts have been at the fore of the competition. The public are put to the taste test, judging the dish on its' visual appeal and how it is presented by the establishment. They then vote towards the people’s choice award, whilst a group of mystery guest judges determine the industry based awards! Beginning on the 8th of June and finishing on the 14th July, this hotly contested competition closes with the winners announced at the Gala Dinner on 12th August.


  • Saturday 8 June –
    Sunday 14 July
  • Waikato wide
  • Spaces are limited
  • $20 - $40

Events happening at Tino Reka te Kai - Waikato Matariki Dish Challenge