Marae food safety requirements

Most food prepared and served on marae will not be covered by the food safety plans and programmes of the Food Act 2014.

Customary food activities

Food prepared and served on marae for customary activities such as tangi is outside the scope of the Food Act 2014, and will not be regulated because the food isn’t sold or traded.


Marae that are raising funds for charitable, benevolent, or cultural purposes would not need to operate with a food control plan or under a national programme as long as the trading takes place no more than 20 times a year. However, a marae operating with a food control plan would have unlimited fundraising opportunities.

MPI has developed a marae food safety guide that contains more information on food safety and an explanation of tikanga in this context.

Download Te Kai Manawa Ora: Marae Food Safety Guide [PDF, 13 MB]

We also have a brochure available covering the basics of food safety:

When you do have to comply with the Act

Food businesses that are operating from a marae, and selling food, will be regulated in the same way as other food businesses. The requirements will depend on the type of food business involved.

Why the Act was changed

The flexible risk-based approach taken by the Act offers an opportunity for marae and other community organisations to develop food manufacturing and food service practices that are consistent with their tikanga. This could offer business, tourism and employment opportunities in the food sector.

For example, marae around Karapiro registered a food control plan (FCP) based on an MPI template ahead of the Rowing World Cup in 2012 to provide catering services. Other marae are establishing cafes, catering businesses and food manufacturing and horticulture businesses.

The current regulatory system, which focuses on premises rather than skills, offers less support for start-up businesses, and is not flexible enough to accommodate innovative or traditional practices.

Who to contact

If you have questions about marae food, email

Last reviewed: