Experience Māori culture and hospitality typical for New Zealand!

From the traditional hangi (earth oven) feast to foraging ingredients from land and water, sharing or hospitality to visitors is the essential element in the culture and culinary traditions of New Zealand’s Māori people.

Contemporary New Zealand is known for a vibrant culinary scene that blends influences from around the world with the Māori tradition of kai (food) and manaakitanga (hospitality) that is uniquely their own, based on a culture and flavours found only in New Zealand.

Visitors to New Zealand will have many opportunities to enjoy an authentic taste of Māori ‘kai’ delivered with ‘manaakitanga’.

Rotorua, in the central North Island, has long been recognised as the main centre of Māori cultural tourism – a reputation that goes back to New Zealand’s earliest tourism industry. Sprawling across an active volcanic field offering natural thermal waters, and surrounded by lakes, rivers, mountains and forests, this bountiful environment supported large populations of Māori.

Today, Rotorua is home to Te Puia – the New Zealand Māori Arts & Crafts Institute, a national institution that promotes and preserves the ancient arts such as whakairo (carving), weaving and ta moko (tattoo art). There, visitors can experience the schools passing these arts on to the younger generation, and other living expressions of Māori culture including dining on seafood cooked in boiling thermal water sources or in the ground in traditional hangi (earth oven) style.

A representative of the Te Puia Institute will be present at the TNZ IMEX stand – a co-operation with them can be a foundation for leaving a useful legacy with the congress you might plan in New Zealand!

For a more singular experience, there are some Māori chefs who transport guests into a foraging tradition stretching back into time with either a 4WD journey into the hinterlands or a gentle walk in the bush (native forest) to hunt for wild game, fish in the fresh water and gather pikopiko (fern fronds), horopito (bush pepper) and kawakawa (bush basil) to incorporate distinctive flavours into a contemporary feast.

Or join a Māori family at their own place and learn about the origins of the kumara – New Zealand sweet potato, a staple root crop that was cultivated by Māori from the earliest times. Visitors can roll up their sleeves and help create a hangi oven, then, while it steams to perfection, listen to ancestral tales of local history before savouring an unforgettable meal of slow-cooked pork, chicken, beef and vegetables.

The ocean was a key source of kai. Long before Auckland became New Zealand’s largest and most cosmopolitan city, it was a coastal haven of plenty. On the sparkling Waitemata Harbour, visitors can sail on a traditional waka (canoe) voyage. As the hosts tell tales of the ancient waka migration across the vast Pacific Ocean to the shores of Aotearoa, guests enjoy spectacular marine views and dine on hangi-cooked food and seafood seasoned with native herbs and spices.

Tourism New Zealand and their partners will present eventprofs with a unique formate of hospitality at IMEX and bring a dash of their local traditions at Stand D 300. Please make sure to set up an appointment with the TNZ Team following this link.

The Table
Taking the effort to bring a 250 kg wooden table made from 4000 year-old wood from the swamps in NZ and skilfully carved by local Maori artists shows how important hospitality is to the Kiwis!