It used to be commonplace for New Zealand families to grow their own produce and eat from their gardens. Maara Kai is a new series that looks at ways families can restore that connection between the garden and the plate, and premieres on Maori Television on Sunday April 12 at 5pm.
“Many of us come from parents or grandparents who gardened, or used what was available to feed the family, and this is a way of life that still appeals to many people,” says Maara Kai producer Te Hira Henderson. “Many people want to be more sustainable and self-sufficient in how they eat and feed their families. This show encourages people who are keen to make changes to go out and do it.”
Maara Kai – eating from the garden – has 2 presenters, each with their area of expertise. Riki Bennett is a long-time ranger who grew up learning about the bounty of the forest, with particular interest in rongoa – traditional Maori medicine. Rewi Spraggon is a trained chef with a passion for indigenous cuisine. He says:
”We see lots of people using certain ingredients, but they don’t know what it looks like in the bush. Many don’t realise the implications of what they’re using. For example, the horopito – which is like chilli – was traditionally used to improve heart function. If you knew what you were doing, you might match that up with gamey-type foods, or to counteract products that are higher in cholesterol.”
Maara Kai is made by the same people that produced Kiwi Maara, which I adored.