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Preparing and cooking food on the marae

E ngā iwi, e ngā reo, e ngā mātā waka, e ngā mana, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tatou katoa.

(Greetings to all people of Aotearoa New Zealand).

The cultural value of kai (food) has its roots embedded in the act of manaaki tangata – the giving and receiving of hospitality. MPI produces a guide to food safety on the marae, called Te Kai Manawa Ora.

This guide provides marae ngā ringawera (cooks and their helpers) with:

  • hints and tips for keeping food safe
  • information on buying, storing, cooking and serving food safely
  • food safety advice for some traditional Māori food practices – like gathering puha, watercress, kaimoana, and kai from the bush
  • information on serving recreationally caught meat.

The guide was first prepared after a 2007 survey of marae kai and food safety practices, and was updated in 2013.

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

Marae food safety posters to download

Preparing and cooking hāngi

Safe food handling and food hygiene practices are important with all food, including hāngi – the traditional Māori way to cook food. 

Our guide to preparing a hāngi includes information on how to keep food safe from pathogens (bugs) that can cause illness. It covers all aspects of a hāngi and describes how to manage each step to achieve a safe outcome.

He whakatairanga i ngā ahuatanga mahi mō te tunu hāngi: Food safety practices in preparing and cooking a hāngi [PDF, 1.8 MB]

Recreational fishing

Kaimoana like shellfish are high-risk foods. Shellfish can happily live in contaminated water and pick up and store any pathogens, biotoxins, or pollution around them. Only gather kaimoana from areas with uncontaminated seawater, and store and handle it safely. Public warnings are issued when shellfish in certain areas are not safe to eat.

Find out more

Recreational hunting

Wild game like pig, deer, goats and ducks may be at risk from bacterial contamination (if the animal is sick, has wounds, or the meat is improperly handled) and chemical contamination (if the animal or meat is in contact with poison). Always hunt in safe areas, take only healthy carcasses, and store and transport meat safely.

Find out more

Selling food commercially on the marae

If you want to sell food on the marae for commercial gain (instead of for fundraising), you need to register as a small food business and comply with the Food Act 2014.

Food businesses that are operating from a marae, and selling food, are regulated in the same way as other food businesses. Requirements they must meet depend on the type of food business.

If you fundraise by selling food more than 20 times a year, you're considered to be a food business under the Food Act 2014.

Who to contact

If you have questions about marae food, email