Hamilton New Zealand

Kawhia Kai Festival

Location: Omimiti St, Kawhia, Waikato

Dates: Saturday 7th February 2016

The festival is back for 2016! Sat 7th Feb. A new committee, a new focus and a new name, officially: Kawhia Moana, Kawhia Kai, Kawhia Tangata Festival 2015.

The "Kawhia Kai Festival" is an annual event celebrating Maori food (kai) and culture. Held at Kawhia, outside of Hamilton, thousands decend on the normally quiet Kawhia Peninsula. People of all nationalities are welcome to the one-day festival. The event is held on Waitangi Weekend, to celebrate Waitangi Day. This year is it on Saturday the 7th.

The festival aims is to bring whanau together to share in the food of the land and sea. You can sample all manner of traditional and contemporary dishes from hangi (food cooked in the ground) to a vast selection of seafood dishes. In fact the Hangi is reported to be the largest in New Zealand with 4 local marae joining to feed thousands. Hangi portions are served up in handweaved flax baskets.

Here is a short video explaining what the Kawhia Kaimoana Festival is all about.

Over 25 food vendors will have your tastebuds on fire with so many variations, and delicacies on offer including koki (shark liver pate). Mussel dishes, and most notably Mussel fritters are a big hit, with many vendors offering the popular dish. Whitebait Fritters are also on the menu, as are puha and pork spring rolls.

The Lonely Planet calls the one-day festival one of the top 10 indigenous NZ events for tourists. Over 5000 locals and visitors attend on the tiny town of just 400 residents. The event includes traditional Maori carving, weaving and tattooing. Local arts and crafts are on display, and for sale.

After your feed enjoy the sounds of local musicians, bands and cultural performances. Kapa Haka performances from several local groups make the event an authentic celebration of Maori culture. All this is set at Omimiti Park Reserve which is right the water's edge on Kawhia perninsula. Great scenery, and a great place to be as one, with the land and the people. Don't miss the Kawhia Kai Festival 2015.

Admission is a very reasonable gold coin donation.

More information can be found on the festival Facebook page

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