Camarosa - The Winter Maiden

Manuka Smoked Pork Hock with purple dawn kumara puree, native leaves, green walnuts, Coromandel wakame, hemp oil dressing, Sweetree Marokopa spring honey

Hine-takurua, the winter maiden who first appears in the sky at the dawn of the Matariki season is the largest star of the Matariki cluster and a wife of the sun, she accompanies him through the sky until the shortest day in late June.

Our crisp pork hocks are cured in a brine with dried fish, seaweed and Horopito then smoked with manuka wood chips to give a range of textures and a true depth of flavour.

Manuka is a New Zealand native and smoking food with manuka is a traditional Maori method of preservation.

The purple dawn kumara's name and colour represent the winter maidens first appearance in the morning sky, she is also said to watch over all things from the sea where we have sourced fresh wakame seaweed from the Coromandel Peninsula.

Green walnuts have been harvested in Pirongia and preserved with aromats and homegrown herbs.

Young native leaves represent a celebration on new life and our dish is finished with a drizzle of locally supplied herbaceous Sweetree Marokopa spring honey.

11 Davison Rd, Newstead

The Local Taphouse - “He mihi ki te ao "Thanks to the world”

Venison rubbed with Horopito, Waiporoporo potato, Kawakawa and blackberry sauce. Wood ear mushrooms.

Maori translation:

Miti Tia kua pangia o te horopito. Taewa Waiporoporo . Te wairanu kawakawa me te Parakipere.

Waiporopro Potatoes: Were introduced to New Zealand in the 1800’s from the Europeans and are known to be a taonga (treasured by) to Maori. They have historical and cultural significance that has been passed down by our ancestors.

Venison was introduced to New Zealand in the late 1800’s to the early 1900’s from the United Kingdom.

Blackberries: The first British settlers introduced blackberry to New Zealand in the 1900’s.

Kawakawa and Horopito: Is native to New Zealand and can be used as food or as a medicine.

In the culinary art industry, we work with all types of food and people from different origins and we make it work. If we can put all these ingredients from other countries on a plate and make it work why as people can we not? No matter where we are from, we should be able to come together and work as one with harmony between us all. From “The Great War” to today with the terror attack in Christchurch, we as people need to manaaki and tautoko each other, to care and support each other so we can bring our generation and the next generation to have good and new life.

SkyCity, Victoria Street, Hamilton

Saigon Noon - Lemongrass Beef in grilled Kawakawa leaves

Kawakawa is a plant that is widely used in Maori culture for cooking, drinking and medicine. Similar to Vietnamese culture, any plants or herbs in cooking also help with health. Grilling is one of the oldest techniques to cook food. Wrapping ground beef that is mixed and well seasoned with soy, salt, pepper and lemongrass in Kawakawa leaves adds an extra layer of taste to the meat after being finished on the grill. 

I hope that this dish will become popular in Aotearoa/New Zealand, especially since a BBQ is the time that friends and family gather together to share the joy and love of food. 

$8 for 5 pieces as a starter
113 Alexandra St, Hamilton

Coffee Since Yesterday - He Huia Kaimoana

Pan seared Gurnard, smoked mussels and clams, steamed peru peru Maori potatoes, creamy coconut and chilli shrimp chowder, crispy salt and horopito squid and pickled watercress.

Matariki is a time of celebration and of bringing whanau together with Kai.

This year my inspiration is the God Rongomatane, God of cultivated foods.

He Huia Kaimoana is a reference to the words Huia Kaimanawa treasures, showing how important the Huia was to our people as a major source of kai. The Manu Huia is now extinct and is a reminder to Maori how treasures can be lost.

So a nod to Rongomatane who encourages whanau to come together during Matariki to cultivate harvest and plant kai. To look after your resources for your pa, harakeke and your whanau so you have kai all year round.

385 Grey Street, Hamilton East

Alpha St Kitchen & Bar -Te kotinga mai i te moana. Harvest from the sea

Coromandel oysters, smoked kahawai, pickled red sea chicory, Urenika potato, horopito fry bread, pikopiko salt.

We wanted to create a dish that celebrates the scope of the Waikato region incorporating two coasts and highlighting how bountiful it is (especially at this time of year).

At this time of the year oysters are at their best and a great treat from the sea. In our dish we have explored different cooking methods one of which is pickling to ensure bounty over the winter. While the use of fry bread and herbs adds a zesty and flavourful profile. We also use traditional ingredients harvested at this time of year in new more modern way to keep these ingredients relevant in a modern restaurant setting but nod to the heritage behind them. 

43 Alpha Street, Cambridge

Alpino - Ngā Mata o te Tāwhirimātea

It is a treat and challenge to make a dish that represents the start of a new year and to acknowledge those that have passed. New Zealand is still a new home for me and it is a privilege to be able to create a dish this way.

The dish:

Black foot Paua ravioli, blacken cauliflower, double smoked bacon broth, puha, onion weed, chilli

My inspiration:

I was given a book about Matariki from my wife. She went to a public lecture held by Dr Rangi Matamua who is a professor at Waikato University.

In the book he tells the story of how Matariki came to be in the first place. 

Mata ariki = Eyes of the God or known by some as Eyes of the Chief

This story is described by a Tohunga from Ruatahuna, of the Tūhoe people. 

Matariki was a shortened name from Ngā Mata o te Ariki Tāwhirimatea = The eyes of Tawhirimatea

In Te Ao Māori – the Māori worldview, Papatūānuku, the earth mother, and Ranginui, the sky father, were held in a tight embrace, with their children protected between them from the realities of the outside world. But their children did not want to live this way any longer so agreed that they would separate their parents, all except one, Tāwhirimatea. Tānemahuta (Atua of the forest) lay on his back and pushed his parents a part allowing him and his brothers to experience the world before them.

Tāwhirimātea (Atua of winds and weather) was unhappy with his brothers for separating his parents. In a rage, Tāwhirimātea fought with his brothers seeking revenge for the pain they caused his parents. His brothers cowered in fear as he began a series of attacks against them. Tāwhirimatea defeated his brothers through death or retreat, Haumie-tikietike (Atua of uncultivated and wild food), Rongo mā Tane (Atua of kumara and all cultivated foods), Tanemahuta, and Tangaroa (Atua of the sea and open waters), except for Tūmatauenga (Atua of War and humanity, a fearless warrior) who stood face to face to fight him. After an epic battle Tūmatauenga emerged the victor. Tāwhirimatea in anguish by the defeat decided to flee skywards to spend his days with his father. But before he did this Tāwhirimatea plucked out his eyes and crushed them in his hands and threw them into the sky in a display of rage and contempt towards his brothers.

It was also a symbol of his deep-seated sorrow and affection for his father, Ranginui. 

The eyes of Tāwhirimatea stuck to the chest of Ranginui and that is where they remain to this day. 

Ngā Mata o te Ariki Tāwhirimatea - Mata Ariki. Known as today as Matariki 

This is my dish representing the story of Matariki and his brothers.

My dish is the story behind the battles the siblings had.

·      Double smoked bacon broth – the smoky flavour of the burnt forest of Tānemahuta

·      The Paua filling – The seafood that stuck to the rocks of the ocean of Tangaroa

·      The pasta shell ravioli – the rich food and energy of the land of Rongo mā Tāne

·      The puha and onion weed – the rich omega 3 vegetation that belonged to Haumia-tiketike 

·      The Blacken cauliflower – the colour of defeat and the dark sky the stars live on that belonged to Tāwhirimatea

·      The chilli – the spicy kick and fire that belonged to Tūmatauenga

·      I have sourced the bacon for the broth from ‘Pokeno bacon in Waikato. Im using the bacon trim to add to the pork stock we make from our pork belly cooking in the restaurant. 

·      The double part of the broth isn’t in the broth-its on the dish. Each dish will be finished with 1-2 slices of free range Guanciale cured pork jowl. This is rich lardo cured meat that has been flavoured with horopito and fresh lemon. This has been soured from ‘A lady butcher’ who is based in Auckland but only gets her pork from free range farms-something of great difficult in NZ

·      The puha and onion weed are foraged around Cambridge or got from the bosses house.

·      The paua is soured from yellow brick road and Solander seafood. Both companies only get wild dived paua-not farmed.

·      The eggs for the pasta are free range


43 Victoria Street, Cambridge

Dough Bros - Halloumi & Honey Baklava, warm date caramel, feijoa, kawakawa and pistachio ice

Head Chef Claire Merrie (a Waikato girl through and through) has a sweet tooth - hence Dough Bros dessert dish entry in this years competition.

Honey is a natural product only attained on the premise of hard, equal work of many with tireless enthusiasm for the greater good. This is no different from our ethos of solidarity in knowledge sharing. We hope to work with many to make the Waikato a busy, better and sweeter place to be. This is the basis of our dish. We use Sweetree honey, locally and lovingly sourced from cared hives. We wanted to incorporate a local cheese; Over The Moon halloumi to give an indulgent note to our dessert.

In consultation with the team here at Dough Bros around an additional element for the dish (more of a "what's growing in your backyard?" conversation) we decided upon feijoas from family holdings to make an ice cream with pistachio and kawakawa, tying flavours from across the world; an ode to the melting pot of which the Waikato and New Zealand is. A dessert to bring people together.

250 Victoria St, Hamilton

Hayes Common - Hāngī kotahitanga mō ngā hapori whānui ki Waikato (A collective hangi for the community of Waikato)

Soggy Bottom smoked pork, native potato, kumara, foraged greens, hāngī pumpkin crème, Piu Blue native herb pasta, mushroom ‘soil’, nuku (earth) broth.

Nau mai, haere mai to the Hayes Common Matariki dish entry for 2019. The creation of this dish greatly reflects the Hayes Common philosophy of community togetherness and the celebration of enjoying food in a social environment where everyone feels like whanau, as well as our endeavour to support local producers and showcase food in a way not ‘commonly’ seen.


As Matariki is also a time of great community involvement, a celebration of the abundance of produce available at this time of year and a great opportunity to showcase some of the amazing local producers throughout the Waikato region, we have combined these ideas to make a dish that is really ‘by the people, for the people’, our hāngī mō ngā hapori whānui  is called a “hangi kotahitanga’’ because a range of local producers in our communities are involved in the process of bringing this kai from farm/river/forest to the plate for the wider community to enjoy.

Our dish itself is an ode to the hāngī, the traditional feast which encapsulates the ideas of community togetherness and celebration. Our local meat and produce comes together under a blanket of local pasta, covered in mushroom ‘soil’. The earthy, smoky broth will provide the steam emerging from the hāngī, immediately provoking thoughts of Papatūānuku and all she has provided for us during Matariki.

33 Jellicoe Street, Hamilton East

Foundation Bar Kitchen - Nga Tamahine e ono – The Six Daughters

Moving clumps of soil to unearth hidden treats below. Lifting the mats and being engulfed by the delicious earthy and smoky aroma of pork and vegetables making the tummy rumble and mouth water.

Our dish is inspired by the hard work of the local iwi to gather, harvest and feed the hungry stomachs of many people coming to have the traditional marae experience. Sounds of laughter from the whare kai of preparation from the team, the children setting up the dining room, the men lifting the baskets and the team enjoying the fruits of their labour, shows that teamwork is an integral part of the hāngī.

We feel that the hāngī is a perfect representation of the legend of Matariki and her six daughters. From the tending nature of Tupu-ā-nuku, the teamwork of the twins Waitī and Waitā, the good attitude of Ururangi and Matariki’s support of her daughters showcases the attributes used to create this special meal.

Our dish pays simple homage to both Matariki and her daughters and the efforts of the marae community in preparing the hāngī. Nga tamahine e ono – The Six Daughters

Herb Stuffed Otorohanga pork loin served with smoked purple kumara puree, watercress oil, braised cabbage parcels, roasted cherry tomatoes and Pukekawa agria potato game chips.

We are sure to delight with our simple modern twist on the traditional hāngī.

Te Awa, The Base

The Helm Bar and Kitchen - Harvesters Reme

Matariki is this beautiful time of year where we celebrate the beginning of the Maori New Year. We are honoured to share with you our unique dish and experience in making it.

Our dish is inspired by Tane Mahuta (the god of the forest) where we found most of the produce like celeriac, from the ground, Kawakawa, from the trees and our watercress, from the stream. With the help of Waipuna-a-rangi our dish is finished off with a herb crusted lamb rack.

We hope you enjoy this journey as much as we have creating it!

"Kia Hari Tahi Tatoa"

22 Ulster Street

Fusion@237 - Victors Place - Te Hakari o Hiwa i te Rangi

Te Hakari o Hiwa i te Rangi, is based on one of the forgotten stars but truly embraces who we are.  Te Hakari o Hiwa i te Rangi translates to The Feast of Hiwa i te Rangi.  Hiwa is connected to prosperous growth, but also where dreams are made, likened to wishing upon a star.

The dish is made up of 3 stages.

Kawakawa tea which is hand-picked and dried from our homestead in Whaingaroa (Raglan).  Kawakawa serves several purposes in Maoridom, a healer, but in this case, our Kawakawa has a subtle calming effect.  Followed Immediately with the Hakari itself.

The Hakari is based on our flavours from a Hangi, fused with our fusion style.  Rather than traditional chicken we have confit duck leg which has also been smoked in Manuka and Manuka honey cured.  Both have direct links to Tupu A Nuku, and Ururangi

Served with fondant kumara which has been slowly baked in butter for 4 hours, and as kumara is our staple, we have not played with it.  There is a Whakatauki (proverb) Kaore te Kumara e korero mo tona ake reka.  The kumara never talks of its own sweetness. 

Butternut puree is married with miso (a Fusion of our blended culture).

A Hakari is not a Hakari if you dont have a hangi stuffing, this ‘stuffing is hand plucked with love by all our team.  We use this time as Whakawhanaungatanga, whanau time around the table - just like our Kuia and Koro did.  This is steamed in cabbage and finished with a hangi jus.


Watercress, Pikopiko and Horopito are also present in different clusters in pesto form.  In true form, rewana bread is a must, to soak up any juices!

Although the dish is all about Hiwa i te Rangi, it embraces all of the sisters and pays homage to the ingredients in a subtle form and thats how Maori Kai is -  natural.

Upstairs, 3 Collingwood St, Hamilton

Smith & McKenzie - Waipuna-ā-Rangi

Rocket coffee cured Cambridge duck, baby beetroot, wild mushroom, goats curd and a horopito tamarillo reduction.

The inspiration behind this dish is in the name Waipuna a rangi.  Waipuna a Rangi accompanies her grandmother to the waters, oceans, lakes and rivers where she prepares the children of Tangaroa (god of the sea) to feed the people.

I love this name for our dish because of the way she looks after and makes sure that there is enough water for our dish to thrive. The wild mushrooms enough for them to grow and flourish. Enough water in lakes and rivers for the duck. The way she watches the water evaporate by the heat of Tama-nui-te-ra (the sun) only to see it rain again which helps with the fruit and vegetables.

This sort of dish reminds me of growing up and going to see the whanau on the farm who had just been out and harvested some fresh duck with a pot of coffee brewing in the background. A big fry up would soon follow with freshly caught tuhinga, veggies, and the multiple other farm animals they had.

Waipuna a rangi knows that if you give to others, all that kindness will come right back to you, and it is this lesson that she shares with us.

Lyden Court, Chartwell

The District Cafe - He Kete Rukuruku

Matariki is the season of the harvest. The District’s dish is made from Waikato produce (hua whenua) and Coromandel mussels (kaimoana). It celebrates the basket of tubers that Whakaotirangi brought with her from Hawaiiki on the Tainui Canoe and how she learned the time to plant and the time for harvest from the animals, birds and the stars. We want to tell her story on the plate and on the page.

19 Home Straight, Te Rapa

The Lookout Bar and Kitchen - Hei Hei got high on magic shrooms

Spiced wild mushroom risotto topped with horopito marinated Waitoa chicken thigh. Chef Ben Short’s sense of humour shines through with this dish of chicken sitting atop of a "magic"/wild mushroom risotto.

Matariki represents people coming together to enjoy food they have harvested and creating great memories for all generations. I feel my dish is something everyone can come in and enjoy as well as create memories for themselves, family and friends.


60 Church Rd, Te Rapa

Mr Pickles - Te Wā o Whānui - ‘In the time of Vega’

Confit duck leg, smoked Matamata kumara mash, Ohaupo harore jus, watercress.

Whānui featured on the Maori lunar calendar and was significant to kūmara and signalled the time to harvest and store kūmara.  Coincidentally it is also around the time the duck (pārera) season opens.

Vega has been extensively studied by astronomers, leading it to be termed “arguably the next most important star in the sky after the sun”.  It was also acknowledged by Māori as being responsible for providing them with kūmara

Kūmara was a principal food for Māori and is imbued with māuri (life force) and whakapapa (lineage).

With multiple pairing options, this dish can be matched with a locally brewed IPA from Bootleg Brewery, a Pinot Noir from Central Otago called the Te Kano 'akin', or a house made hot tea of horopito and kawakawa.

Cost $28
298 Victoria Street, Hamilton