Respected underground hāngī koro retires

By Taroi Black

Rihari Nahi has served his last traditional underground hāngī meal to celebrate Matariki while giving his colleagues from Auckland Council a cooking lesson.

The concept is based on showcasing traditional Māori practices among volunteers who work at the council through wānanga/learning.

“It’s a team effort,” he says.

Nahi is the man any council needs on their side as both a mana whenua strategic broker and a chef in the kitchen.

Photo Source / Te Aroha Nahi

For almost 40 years he’s been the heart and soul of his community in Puatahi, providing the most traditional method of underground hāngī.

“Hāngi involves river stones, steel and bricks and careful attention is needed to manage the heat when you’re cooking many baskets of food.”

This Matariki he’s providing kai that will feed up to 400 people as his way of concluding his years of serving kai to the multitudes and leaving a lasting legacy for the council to continue this type of cooking every year.

“You’re only as good as your last hāngī," he says.