Hangi Day 2023:
At the beginning of each school year, tamariki (children) experience seeing how a hangi is prepared and eating hangi. This is an enjoyable experience and one of the highlights of the school year.
The school is currently developing a school hangi site at the rear of the school behind Room 18 and Room 19. This site will further educate students around traditional Māori cooking methods and tikanga.
Tamariki are asked to donate vegetables for the hangi. Each class brings along a different type of vegetable. The school sources donations of meat, while the Board also fund purchasing meat for the hangi. Tamariki, kaiako (teachers) and whānua are involved in preparing the for the hangi baskets the night before.
Local whānau support the preparation and cooking of the hangi. This involves digging the hole before the day. On the day, whanau begin by heating the stones on a fire at 4.30am. The hangi is then prepared and covered around 7am. Tamariki view the lifting of the hangi before it is served in the school hall around midday.
Traditionally, Māori people cooked in earth ovens called ‘hāngī’.
Good food is central to the spirit of hospitality. There are few experiences that rival sharing a feast cooked in a traditional Maori hāngī (earth oven), a centuries-old cooking method perfect for feeding a crowd and bringing a community together.
What is a hāngī?
In traditional hāngī cooking, food such as fish and kumara (sweet potato), were cooked in a pit dug in the ground. Today, pork, lamb, potato, pumpkin and cabbage are also included.
Hāngī food, or ‘kai’ in Māori, was traditionally wrapped in flax leaves, but a modern Hāngī is more likely to use cloth sacks, aluminium foil and wire baskets.
The baskets are placed on hot stones at the bottom of a hole dug into the ground. The food is covered with a wet cloth and a mound of dirt that traps the heat from the stones.
The Hāngī food is left in the ground for about three to four hours, depending on the quantity being cooked.
The result of this process is tender meat and delicious vegetables, infused with smoky, earthy flavours.