Ōhope festival celebrates wild foods from land and sea

By Stefan Dimitrof

Photo: https://www.whakatane.com/wildfood

The latest event to return from the Colvid-19 pandemic, Ōhope’s Local wild food festival, will celebrate food from the land and sea and showcase them in fresh and unique ways on Saturday, March 25.

Maori chef Joe Mcleod, a familiar face from the show Life of Kai on Whakaata Māori is attending the festival in the Bay of Plenty as one of the judges for the food competition.

“I always look forward to this event as it takes me closer to tamakaimoana ki Te Urewera and Ngai Tuhoe.”

“It brings out the best in the region and shows what our people can do with food from the heart and is one of the best modes of judging food presentations.”

Everything used foraged

Mcleod said that apart from judging at the event he’ll be encouraging the participants and the public to join the festivities and the competition.

“The challenge of being the best in classes is broken down into age, the story of the dish, knowledge segments, and the rewards once we dish out the prizes - and it’s open to anybody.”

In previous years Mcleod held hangi presentations and hold rongoā kai chat to crowds of people showing and cooking the types of food Māori would have eaten years before colonisation.

“That is always the drawcard to my presentations. Everything used and foraged for is totally organic and cross-referencing.”

“The rongoā to the food to the cooking and then the eating process always stuns, fascinates and uplifts the interest in our classical/traditional Māori food heritage.”

The festival will run from 2pm to 8pm. More information can be found here.