Otago Polytechnic food event to celebrate rūnaka and Matariki
A group of Otago Polytechnic learners have been hard at work preparing and planning a feast to celebrate Matariki in collaboration with EAT NZ, Te Rūnanga o Ōtākau and Kāti Huirapa Rūnaka ki Puketeraki.
“The Feast Matariki event is also about celebrating our whanau and community members who supported our local Covid-19 response,” says Academic Leader Chloe Humphreys.
The event, to be held at Manaaki restaurant on Harbour Terrace, Dunedin, on Thursday 16 June, is also part of the national EAT NZ, Feast Matariki celebrations.
The evening will embrace the kaihaukai concept, which centres on exchanging traditional kai, knowledge and stories between different regions.
Traditionally, different rūnaka had different areas of specialisation with regard to kai, and Matariki was a time when rūnaka joined together to trade and share kai, along with the stories that went with them.
Learners from Otago Polytechnic’s Bachelor of Culinary Arts have been joined by Bachelor of Design (Communications) tauira in a student-led project designed to broaden their knowledge as they embrace the concepts of manaakitaka (ethics of care), kotahitaka (team bonding) and whānaukataka (ethics of relationships).
“It is about more than food. There will be a wider experience to help tell the story, along with speeches from mana whenua and organisers.”
Significantly, much of the produce for the event has been grown on Otago Polytechnic’s Living Campus.
With gardens surrounding the Dunedin campus, tauira have the opportunity to harvest their own kai and collaborate with kaiako and tauira from the horticulture department to grow and use a range of plants which are often hard to source through other supply chains.
Although organisers wish to retain the surprise elements of the menu, it is safe to say that key elements combine aspects of Matariki with the highly personal food stories of some of the Culinary Arts tauira.
“The event programme includes an explanation from tauira involved in creating the menu. They delve into how they were inspired to come up with their dishes,” Chloe adds.