New Zealand Cuisine and Eating Out

While all of our motorhomes have excellent cooking facilities, sometimes it’s just nice to get out and sample the local cuisine.

New Zealand Cuisine

Cuisine influences

New Zealand’s Pacific Rim cuisine draws inspiration from Europe, Asia and Polynesia. This blend of influences has created a mouth-watering range of flavours and food, in cafes and restaurants nationwide. For dishes that have a distinctly New Zealand style, there’s lamb, pork and cervena (venison), salmon, crayfish (lobster), Bluff oysters, paua (abalone), mussels, scallops, pipis and tuatua (both are types of New Zealand shellfish); kumara (sweet potato); kiwifruit and tamarillo; and pavlova, the national dessert.

Dine with the vine

Many New Zealand vineyards run restaurants as part of their business, offering world-class fare using the best local seasonal produce. These are popular eateries with tourists and locals alike, providing the opportunity to sample top New Zealand food alongside award-winning New Zealand wines. Many vineyards employ world-class chefs with extensive international experience. They utilise fresh New Zealand produce in their creations – including seafood, lamb, cervena (venison), and fruit including kiwifruit, feijoas and tamarillo. Restaurants attached to vineyards include: Montana‚Äôs Brancott Estate in Marlborough, Gibbston Valley in Queenstown, Sileni Estate in Hawke’s Bay and the Hunting Lodge at Matua in Waimauku.

Ethnic mix

New Zealand’s biggest city, Auckland, has more than 900 restaurants over its sprawling environs. From haute cuisine at elegant silver service restaurants to trendy suburban brasseries and inner-city cafes, those visiting Auckland will have no problem finding food to suit their fancy. Auckland is home to many different cultures, from Samoan to Asian to European, and this is reflected in the range of cuisine available.

Casual Kiwi cuisine

The New Zealand summer sees many eat outdoors, often in a barbecue setting. Kiwi barbecues – featuring New Zealand beef, lamb and seafood – are a big part of the culture, and typify the laid-back nature of the New Zealand people.

Another style of all-year-round outdoor cooking is the traditional Maori hangi (pronounced hung-ee), cooked underground on hot coals, usually prepared for special occasions. It includes a vegetable called the kumara (sweet potato, pronounced ‘koo-murra’) in its feast, along with chicken, pork, lamb, potatoes and other vegetables. The smoky flavour of the hangi is delicious and an essential culinary experience while in New Zealand. Several tourist locations, including Rotorua in the North Island, put down hangis for groups of visitors. A deep hole is dug in the ground, lined with red-hot stones and covered with vegetation. The food is then placed on top. The whole oven is sprinkled with water and sealed with more vegetation. The hole is then filled with earth and left to steam for several hours. Traditionally, men dig and prepare the hole, and women prepare the food to go in it. All members of an extended family (whanau) help out for such a feast. The occasion is relaxed, friendly and fun, with people often eating the meal under a marquee.


Fish and chips (fries) may not be high on the healthy eating scale, but your New Zealand cuisine experience is incomplete without enjoying this traditional New Zealand takeaway (takeout) meal, served wrapped in paper.


Further information:

Tamaki Maori Village
(Hangi information)
Phone +64 7 346 2823
Email [email protected]

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