Lolly slice, lamingtons, choc fish, kiwifruit, roast lamb, fish and chips, L&P, whitebait fritters, mince and cheese pies, ginger crunch, jaffas, pavlova, kaimoana cooked on the BBQ and popsicles. Do you want to know more about iconic New Zealand food to commemorate Waitangi Day?
Let’s discover the origins of New Zealand cuisine as a foodie tribute to our national day:
Like Dutch tulips have their origin in Asia, kiwifruit does not actually originate in New Zealand. Also known as Chinese gooseberries, the fruit comes from China but, when New Zealand farmers wanted to market their crop overseas in the 1960s, China was out of favour in the West. To identify the fruit with New Zealand, it was given the name kiwifruit. It is never called just a kiwi. That term is reserved for the bird or to describe a person from New Zealand.
The popular version of the Anzac biscuit’s history is that they were made by Australian and New Zealand women for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) soldiers of World War I and were reputedly first called “Soldiers’ Biscuits” and then “Anzac Biscuits” after the Gallipoli landing.
L&P soft drink:
L&P (Lemon and Paeroa) is a sweet, almost uncoloured soft drink made by combining lemon juice with carbonated herby, mineral water from the town of Paeroa.
These orange coated choc balls are traditionally associated with going to the movies. They were first made in Sydney by James Stedman Sweets (aka “Sweetacres”, also makers of Minties) who had a plant in Auckland making Jaffas and Minties. When Rowntree Hoadley took over Sweetacres in Australia, the NZ business went to Griffins.
- Pineapple Lumps:
- According to a bag of Pascall’s Pineapple Lumps, the sweets have been available since 1935. They may have been first made by the Regina sweet factory in Oamaru, currently Rainbow Confectionery Ltd. They are unique to New Zealand.
- Chocolate fish:
Indigenous to New Zealand, the chocolate fish – white or pink marshmallow covered in milk chocolate – is a popular favourite with hot drinks. The fish have even coined a popular expression: “give that man a chocolate fish” to indicate someone deserves thanks.
- The pavlova:
The pavlova is a New Zealand food icon – a large cake-sized meringue filled with fruit and cream. It is claimed by both Australians and New Zealanders as their own. Check out our recipe by clicking above on the Search field. Mmmmm.
New Zealanders and Australians also argue about the origins of the Lamington – a sponge cake cube coated in a layer of traditionally chocolate icing and desiccated coconut. They are sometimes served as two halves with a layer of cream and/or strawberry jam between. There is also a strawberry variety that is more common in New Zealand, while sightings of a lemon variety have occurred in Australia.
These tasty chocolate and cornflake biscuits, generally topped with chocolate icing and walnut pieces, are a real Kiwi treat although, according to renowned food historian Tony Simpson, the origins of the name is shrouded in a bit of mystery. It is believed the name has nothing to do with the country Afghanistan but simply with the dark colour of the biscuits. Check out our wickedly good recipe above by entreating Afghan into the search field.
New Zealand Marmite significantly different in taste from British Marmite – our ingredients include sugar – and comes in different packaging. It is made by Sanitarium, which started importing it from Britain in 1910, gained the exclusive agency to sell in New Zealand in 1919, and in the 1930s started experimenting with blends that led to today’s independent product. Meanwhile, Vegemite is the registered brand name for an Australian-made dark brown, salty food paste made from yeast extract. While highly popular in Australia and New Zealand, it has never been successfully marketed elsewhere. To make it easy to understand the differences: Marmite has sugar, Vegemite does not.
This sweet potato is a staple in the Maori diet and has a long history of cultivation in New Zealand. Early Maori settlers brought the kumara with them from its Pacific Island source more than 1000 years ago. These days, the kumara is used widely in NZ cooking.
New Zealand whitebait is small, sweet and tender with a delicate taste. The most popular way of cooking whitebait in New Zealand is the whitebait fritter, which is essentially an omelette containing whitebait. Foreigners frequently react with revulsion when shown uncooked whitebait, which resembles slimy, translucent worms. One of our top recipes here at Fresh.co.nz is whitebait fritters.
- Huhu Grub:
The Maori consider the huhu grub a delicacy while others may have tried it as a dare during a wild food festival. Said to have the taste and consistency of peanut butter, the grub’s high fat content can be a lifesaver for people lost in the bush.
We love throwing some sausies, steak and lamb kebabs on the barbie here in New Zealand. It’s our way of life in summer. Etymologists believe that ‘barbecue’ derives from the word ‘barabicu’ found in the Caribbean language and entered European languages in the form ‘barbecoa’ in the early 1500s. Half a millennium later, we love BBQ’ing more than ever.
And here’s a bit of a laugh for you… When a man volunteers to BBQ, this is pretty much how it goes in NZ:
1. The woman buys the food.
2. The woman makes a salad, prepares vegetables and makes dessert.
3. The woman prepares the meat for cooking, places it on a tray along with the necessary cooking utensils and sauces, and takes it to the man who is lounging beside the grill, beer in hand.
4. THE MAN PLACES THE MEAT ON THE BBQ.
5. The woman organises plates and cutlery.
6. The woman comes out to tell the man that the meat is burning. He thanks her and asks if she will bring another beer while he deals with the situation.
7. THE MAN TAKES THE MEAT OFF THE BBQ AND HANDS IT TO THE WOMAN.
8. The woman prepares the plates, salad, bread, utensils, napkins, sauces and brings them to the table.
9. After eating, the woman clears the table and does the dishes.
10. Everyone PRAISES THE MAN and THANKS HIM for his cooking efforts.
11. The man asks the woman how she enjoyed her night off and, upon seeing her annoyed reaction, concludes that there’s just no pleasing her.
Kia Ora! You could enjoy all these Kiwi foods on Waitangi Day or you could just go fishing, pipi picking or buy a Kiwi Burger…