The foods eaten by the people of New Zealand

The cuisine of New Zealand has evolved significantly over the last 500 years, influenced by indigenous Māori culture, British colonization, and more recent waves of immigration from places like Asia and the Pacific Islands. Here's a general overview:

Indigenous Māori Cuisine

Before the arrival of European settlers, the Māori people had a diet rich in native flora and fauna. Foods included:

  1. Kūmara: A sweet potato variety.
  2. Fish and Shellfish: Particularly eel, snapper, and green-lipped mussels.
  3. Fern Root: As a carbohydrate source.
  4. Birds: Like the now-extinct moa and the kererū (wood pigeon).
  5. Hāngī: A traditional method of cooking food using heated rocks buried in a pit oven.

British Influence and Early European Settlers

British colonizers brought with them foods and culinary traditions from Europe:

  1. Meat: Beef, lamb, and pork became staples.
  2. Dairy: Cheese and milk became widely consumed.
  3. Vegetables: Potatoes, carrots, and other European vegetables were introduced.
  4. Puddings and Pies: Sweet and savory pies became common.

Modern New Zealand Cuisine

Today, New Zealand's culinary landscape is a fusion of traditional Māori foods, British-influenced fare, and contributions from newer immigrant communities.

  1. Seafood: Abundant in local waters, like crayfish, paua (abalone), and whitebait.
  2. Lamb: Still a popular choice and considered some of the best in the world.
  3. Dairy: New Zealand is a significant dairy producer, and products like cheese and butter are high quality.
  4. Fruits: Kiwi fruit, apples, and avocados are notable.

Iconic Foods and Dishes

  1. Pavlova: A meringue-based dessert named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, its origins are disputed between New Zealand and Australia.
  2. Meat Pie: A carryover from British influence, these are a popular fast food.
  3. Fish and Chips: Another British staple that's very popular.
  4. Kiwifruit: Named after the kiwi bird, this fruit is a significant export.
  5. Māori Bread: Rewena bread is a traditional Māori sourdough potato bread.

Spices and Seasonings

  1. Kawakawa: An indigenous herb used in Māori cuisine.
  2. Manuka Honey: Unique to New Zealand, used for flavor and its antimicrobial properties.

Foreign Influences and Global Foods

  1. Asian Cuisine: Chinese, Japanese, Thai, and Indian foods are increasingly popular.
  2. Pacific Influence: Foods from neighboring Pacific Islands, like taro and coconut, are commonly consumed.
  3. American Fast Food: Chains and foods like hamburgers and pizzas are ubiquitous.


  1. Tea and Coffee: Both are popular, with coffee culture thriving in urban areas.
  2. Wine: New Zealand is known for its high-quality wines, especially Sauvignon Blanc.
  3. Beer: A variety of local and international brands are popular.

Over the last 500 years, the food in New Zealand has transitioned from a focus on indigenous ingredients and cooking methods to a cuisine that's an eclectic mix of various culinary traditions. Whether it's traditional Māori hāngī or a modern flat white from an Auckland café, the food scene in New Zealand offers a diverse array of flavors and influences.

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