Star chef lineup for ‘Tohunga Tūmau’ 2023 Puanga Matariki dinner

By Contributor

Lighting displays adorned central Christchurch to mark the first Matariki public holiday last year. Photo / Peter Beecham / Stuff

A star chef lineup at a dinner celebrating Matariki in July will feature indigenous ingredients including kōura/crayfish, kina mousse, tītī/muttonbird, and smoky flavours from an in-ground hāngī.

This year’s dinner celebration for 500 people will take place at Te Pae Convention Centre, Ōtautahi Christchurch on Thursday, July 13.

Guests will share a five-course meal with matching wines, celebrating the best of indigenous ingredients, Māori performers and manaakitanga. Each dish will be matched with wines sourced from Māori-owned vineyards across the motu.

The chefs are: Peter Gordon (presenter, author, owner and executive chef, Homelands); Nancye Pirini (executive chef, Novotel Hotel Auckland); Tama Salive (executive chef, The Duke of Marlborough); Rex Morgan (ex-executive Chef & Owner, Boulcott Suite Bistro); Karena & Kasey Bird (authors, presenters, MasterChef 2014 winners);  Joe McLeod (chef, kai Māori expert); Monique Fiso (co-owner, executive chef and author, HIAKAI); Rewi Spraggon (hāngī master, TV presenter, chef); Grant Kitchen (national president NZ Chefs Association, chef de cuisine Feilding Golf Club Kitchen & Apiti Tavern and Eatery).

Hāngī master Rewi Spraggon launched the event with his business partner Grant Kitchen during 2021 in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, before staging it in the capital last year and is now moving it for the first time to the South Island.

Matariki protocols

Last year they served more than 500 people at Matariki in Wellington and bookings are now open for this year’s event.

 “Iwi throughout Aotearoa have their own protocols for Matariki, so by moving the event around the country it allows us to incorporate these customs into the celebration. This way we also get to share the occasion with people all around the motu,” Spraggon says.

Te Whenua Tāroa (Farmlands) is the sponsor of Tohunga Tūmau for the third year in a row. Farmlands CEO, Tanya Houghton says Te Whenua Tāroa’s key role as a rural supplies co-op is to support Aotearoa’s farmers and growers to produce world-class kai.

“Tohunga Tūmau provides a great opportunity for us to come together to celebrate the wonderful end products and to recognise all the agriculture and horticulture mahi that goes into growing food of this quality.”

“I look forward to enjoying a wonderful evening with tangata whenua at the dinner.”

Tohunga Tūmau is affiliated with Māori food directory and the event is being managed by Lemongrass Productions. Tables can be bought here.

Spraggon says the previous two events sold out in advance so early booking is recommended.