It is a treat and challenge to make a dish that represents the start of a new year and to acknowledge those that have passed. New Zealand is still a new home for me and it is a privilege to be able to create a dish this way.

The dish:

Black foot Paua ravioli, blacken cauliflower, double smoked bacon broth, puha, onion weed, chilli

My inspiration:

I was given a book about Matariki from my wife. She went to a public lecture held by Dr Rangi Matamua who is a professor at Waikato University.

In the book he tells the story of how Matariki came to be in the first place. 

Mata ariki = Eyes of the God or known by some as Eyes of the Chief

This story is described by a Tohunga from Ruatahuna, of the Tūhoe people. 

Matariki was a shortened name from Ngā Mata o te Ariki Tāwhirimatea = The eyes of Tawhirimatea

In Te Ao Māori – the Māori worldview, Papatūānuku, the earth mother, and Ranginui, the sky father, were held in a tight embrace, with their children protected between them from the realities of the outside world. But their children did not want to live this way any longer so agreed that they would separate their parents, all except one, Tāwhirimatea. Tānemahuta (Atua of the forest) lay on his back and pushed his parents a part allowing him and his brothers to experience the world before them.

Tāwhirimātea (Atua of winds and weather) was unhappy with his brothers for separating his parents. In a rage, Tāwhirimātea fought with his brothers seeking revenge for the pain they caused his parents. His brothers cowered in fear as he began a series of attacks against them. Tāwhirimatea defeated his brothers through death or retreat, Haumie-tikietike (Atua of uncultivated and wild food), Rongo mā Tane (Atua of kumara and all cultivated foods), Tanemahuta, and Tangaroa (Atua of the sea and open waters), except for Tūmatauenga (Atua of War and humanity, a fearless warrior) who stood face to face to fight him. After an epic battle Tūmatauenga emerged the victor. Tāwhirimatea in anguish by the defeat decided to flee skywards to spend his days with his father. But before he did this Tāwhirimatea plucked out his eyes and crushed them in his hands and threw them into the sky in a display of rage and contempt towards his brothers.

It was also a symbol of his deep-seated sorrow and affection for his father, Ranginui. 

The eyes of Tāwhirimatea stuck to the chest of Ranginui and that is where they remain to this day. 

Ngā Mata o te Ariki Tāwhirimatea – Mata Ariki. Known as today as Matariki 

This is my dish representing the story of Matariki and his brothers.

My dish is the story behind the battles the siblings had.

·      Double smoked bacon broth – the smoky flavour of the burnt forest of Tānemahuta

·      The Paua filling – The seafood that stuck to the rocks of the ocean of Tangaroa

·      The pasta shell ravioli – the rich food and energy of the land of Rongo mā Tāne

·      The puha and onion weed – the rich omega 3 vegetation that belonged to Haumia-tiketike 

·      The Blacken cauliflower – the colour of defeat and the dark sky the stars live on that belonged to Tāwhirimatea

·      The chilli – the spicy kick and fire that belonged to Tūmatauenga

·      I have sourced the bacon for the broth from ‘Pokeno bacon in Waikato. Im using the bacon trim to add to the pork stock we make from our pork belly cooking in the restaurant. 

·      The double part of the broth isn’t in the broth-its on the dish. Each dish will be finished with 1-2 slices of free range Guanciale cured pork jowl. This is rich lardo cured meat that has been flavoured with horopito and fresh lemon. This has been soured from ‘A lady butcher’ who is based in Auckland but only gets her pork from free range farms-something of great difficult in NZ

·      The puha and onion weed are foraged around Cambridge or got from the bosses house.

·      The paua is soured from yellow brick road and Solander seafood. Both companies only get wild dived paua-not farmed.

·      The eggs for the pasta are free range