Forty festival events to celebrate food
A food movement, called Eat New Zealand, dedicated to connecting people with the land through food plans to present New Zealand’s first national food celebration, Feast Matariki.
Kicking off on June 1 and running throughout June and July, Feast Matariki will comprise over 40 events and regional activations, rising to 100 as more are announced over the coming weeks.
The festival will include regional efforts such as such as Feast Festival in Taranaki, Elemental Feast in Auckland, Matariki Dish Challenge in Waikato, Dine Dunedin, FAWC in Hawkes Bay, and Feast Matariki in Wellington.
In that city Monique Fiso from Hiakai restaurant and international chef Charles Michel of Netflix The Final Table fame, will be offering a Matariki feast using foraged flora and an exploration of indigenous flavours and ingredients, alongside an evening of storytelling.
Chief Executive of Eat New Zealand Angela Clifford says the festival is a chance to recognize and celebrate national food culture in a way that is New Zealand. “Feast Matariki seeks to re-emerge these stories by creating our nation’s first (modern-day) national food celebration. We want to create a platform from which our food culture and story can be expressed.
“Throughout the country people will be taking the time to come together and share food, no matter what their heritage or background. It’s a moment toreconnect with where our food comes from and to recognise the truly incredible ingredients we grow, catch and make here. It’s also a time to acknowledge the manaakitanga or hospitality that is an intrinsic part of who we are as Kiwis.”
Events throughout the country will be as diverse as street festivals, Matariki dish competitions, hāngis, community food celebrations, long tables and chef collaborations. “Other parts of the world celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas with food in cooler months too. It’s a way to slow down, bring people together, and enjoy the best of what can be put on our tables from the proceeding harvest season. This is something we did traditionally; we just want to highlight this again” said Clifford.
Eat New Zealand’s strategic partner is the Restaurant Association of NZ and its Chief Executive Marisa Bidois (Ngāti Ranginui) says “This is a significant milestone in the development of our food story as a country. It’s both important and exciting that the history of our food culture is woven into this story-telling.
“Our chefs and food heroes will be instrumental in bringing this festival to life for both locals and tourists and we are excited to see it become the highlight of our annual food calendar. Events can be found on the Feast Matariki website where regular updates will be added: https://www.eatnewzealand.nz/feast-matariki