Matariki kai competition


8 July 2018

Fifty local judges voted for their favourite indigenous dish and announced Millennium Hotel Rotorua’s creation the winner at a tasting at the Rotorua Farmers Market today.

The dish was entitled Mōwaiwai - To make the mouth water and included tuna mousse with salt water kina topped with kawakawa infused rewena crumb.

The dish was served in paua shell and was created by Millennium Hotel Rotorua Chef de Partie Jim Tawa (pictured below).

Millennium Hotel Rotorua General Manager Pipiana Whiston was very proud of her team and says it was a great start to this new Matariki event.

“It was fantastic to get the community involved and receive the support from the local business community. We are looking forward to getting creative again next year”, says Ms Whiston.

The winning hotel received a unique trophy designed and created by TOA architects that embodies the spirit of Matariki. The korūrū represents Matariki and on the forehead the pūhoro pattern symbolises how Matariki is used to guide us in life. Each layer of colour is a reference to each of the nine stars that make up the constellation of Matariki (also known as Pleiades).

Millennium Hotel Rotorua also received $1000 radio promotion package from prize sponsor Mediaworks.

Three local hotels took part in the inaugural Ngā Kai A Matariki - The Foods of Matariki Competition with the aim of showcasing traditional Māori cuisine in a contemporary way.

As well as the winning hotel, Sudima Hotel Lake Rotorua and Rydges Rotorua developed innovative indigenous canapes that were served to fifty judges. The local judges were selected after winning online competitions in the lead up to the event and were supported by a range of VIP judges.

Well-known indigenous chef, Charles Royal, enjoyed all the dishes and the stories behind each one.

“I really enjoy events like this because it helps develop use of indigenous foods and brings out stories of the past to achieve greater understanding. Especially around Matariki when the gathering, harvesting and preservation of food are so important for sustainability” says Mr Royal.

The competition was created as part of Rotorua’s Matariki celebrations and following the success of this event, will grow to be an annual event.

 For more Rotorua Matariki events visit

Page reviewed: 08 Jul 2018 1:00pm