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The PM and co get in on breakfast duty on the barbie after last year’s dawn service at Waitangi (Photo: Getty Images)
The PM and co get in on breakfast duty on the barbie after last year’s dawn service at Waitangi (Photo: Getty Images)

KaiFebruary 6, 2019

Where to eat delicious kai on Waitangi Day

The PM and co get in on breakfast duty on the barbie after last year’s dawn service at Waitangi (Photo: Getty Images)
The PM and co get in on breakfast duty on the barbie after last year’s dawn service at Waitangi (Photo: Getty Images)

It’s Waitangi Day! Time to learn, respect, honour the treaty and eat some yum AF food.

The ol’ midweek public holiday can sneak up on you – suddenly you don’t have to go to work but alas, you have no plans. Never fear: there are many cool Waitangi Day events happening around the country, all of which (well, nearly all, anyway) involve glorious, glorious kai.  

Here’s a handful of options:

(NB: If you want to know more about Māori food celebrations and the tikanga around it, check out this jolly entertaining AND informative episode of Kaupapa on the Couch)



Kicking off at 5am with a dawn service, this is the big one – the treaty grounds are taken over by a free public festival featuring all-day entertainment, 150 market stalls and a whooooole lot of food – including tino rangatiratanga ice blocks. Here is a small selection of what Ātea editor Leonie Hayden ate last year: hāngī, a pot of kina, ika mata, approximately eight pieces of fry bread, half a watermelon filled with fruit and ice cream, and some very good Supreme coffee.

Kai time at Waitangi in 2013 (Photo: Getty Images)



Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei and Auckland Council are putting on this day of whānau fun just east of the city at lovely Okahu Bay. There’s kapa haka in the morning, Troy Kingi and House of Shem in the afternoon, and heaps in between. There will be food stalls aplenty serving up kai Māori (hāngī, kaimoana, fry bread), plus sausage sizzles, burgers and barbecue, among other delicacies. Give Modern Māori fusion kai caravan Pūhā & Pākehā a hoon – tuatua fritters, kūmara and coconut bites and rēwena bread trifle, anyone? Oh, you can also get a health check at the hauora village, cool eh? And don’t forget your togs because the beach is right there.


Out west, Te Whānau o Waipareira Trust is hosting a big event at Hoani Waititi marae with a great line-up including Stan Walker, Annie Crummer, Moana and The Tribe, Smashproof and Yothu Yindi & The Treaty Project from across the ditch. There will be HEAPS of food stalls, offering up everything from mussel fritters to watermelon ice cream, barbecue, chop suey, roast meat buns, fry bread, whitebait fritters, hāngī, raw fish, taniwha burgers… Oh and free watermelon all day long! Kai Kwazine food cart is apparently the bomb.


The Manukau Sports Bowl is the place to be if you’re south-side – kapa haka, Rob Ruha and the Witch Dr, Maimoa Music, te reo Māori lessons, an Auckland Museum tent where you can learn about butterflies, poi making, putiputi weaving… oh, and kai of course – delicacies from our Pasifika neighbours as well as the best of Aotearoa.

A rainy old Waitangi Day at Te Tii in 2007. But at least there was hot food (Photo: Getty Images)


Hāngī, rēwena, Thai food, crepes, candy floss, sushi, Mr Whippy – I mean what more could you want, right? This year is the very first Tauranga Moana Waitangi Day Festival and it sounds like a damn good time. It’s held in Tauranga’s historic village AND Mount Maunganui’s Hopukiore (Mt Drury) and free buses will whizz you between the two. There’s entertainment galore plus art exhibitions and workshops (raranga, poi making etc).


Whānau fun day at Anzac Park in Gizzy with $5 hāngī packs, seafood chowder and lots of other stuff – including, OMG, a rēwena bake-off!


Three words for you: Pātea Māori Club. They’re at Paepae in the Park along with craft stalls and FOOD, of course. Including some delicious-looking Cook Islands delicacies. If you’re in NP, there’s an event at Puke Ariki with food stalls and a kids’ craft corner, bless.


Ngāti Kahungunu is putting on a celebration at Sports Park Hawke’s Bay in Hastings and organic grower Bostock is a sponsor, so it’s a fair bet there will be heaps of tasty kai made with fresh, local produce.

Then prime minister Helen Clark checks out what’s on offer at Waitangi back in 2008 (Photo: Getty Images)


This is happening in The Square in Palmy and there will be food trucks, music and even Harlem Grobetrotters shooting hoops!


Whiti Te Rā ? ? ? is the theme of this year’s event hosted by Porirua City Council, Ngāti Toa and Whitireia, and there will be lots of food to satisfy your puku! All vendors have a zero-waste kaupapa, so that’s cool. Ardijah is headlining the entertainment.


The aptly named Waitangi Park plays host to Wellington’s celebrations, and there’s no mucking about with the food – it’s hāngī, naturally, from Karaka Cafe. Good music too, with the likes of the Māori Sidesteps and The Black Seeds.


Over we go to Te Wai Pounamu and Nelson is all about the food with the Waitangi Day International Kai Festival. Tasty tucker from around the globe and only $3 or $6 per portion.

Just a cool kai Māori illustration by Toby Morris


There will be hāngī, there will be other kai, there will be kapa haka, there will be good times. All in Victoria Square, Christchurch.


Ngāi Tahu’s Treaty Festival is happening at Ōnuku Marae and there will be hākari yussss (a barbecue lunch, to be exact).


Hāngī in the Octagon! Plus kapa haka and music and stuff.

*No doubt we have missed a few kai-centric Waitangi Day events – let us know where you’re going, what you’re doing and, most importantly, what you’re eating in the Facebook comments

Keep going!