Te Ao Tūroa

MPI has developed Te Ao Tūroa to raise the profile of the primary industries in schools and help address future capabilities and skills requirements. The resource looks at how our primary industries are supported by 3 key interrelated systems – animal welfare, biosecurity and food.

Background for teachers

New Zealand is economically dependent on its primary industries. The world market for our agricultural, aquacultural, fisheries, forestry and horticultural products is highly competitive.

New Zealand producers, processors and marketers need to be smart to sustain and build on their place in the global marketplace. This relies on caring and careful use of our natural resources, including plants and animals.

What's in the resource?

The resource is designed with local communities, environments and industries in mind and includes a selection of learning activities, so you can choose those that best relate to your community.

The learning experiences are contextualised into one or more of the key interrelated systems – animal welfare, biosecurity, and food.

The resource is structured around learning experiences developed for Levels 1 and 2, 3 and 4, and 4 and 5 of The New Zealand Curriculum

Introducing the systems

A series of professional development videos has been created to introduce you to the 3 systems that support the primary sector and underpin these resources – animal welfare, biosecurity and the food system.

Expand All
The primary sector

Industries within the primary sector can be grouped into 3 areas:

  • growing and harvesting
  • processing, commercialisation and marketing
  • services.

Video – championing the primary industries (3:21)

We've interviewed some primary industry champions and well-known New Zealanders. In this video, they share their stories and insights about the primary industries.

[Upbeat music plays whilst different scenes of people working in the primary sector are shown – packers on a farm, a woman in a laboratory, a man in a factory busy filleting fish and another man standing on a farm holding open a gate to herd in cows whilst a black utility vehicle (ute) with farm dogs on the back arrives on a paddock with sheep running in the opposite direction. Three metal spiral-shaped mixers attached to a metal bar are mixing fertiliser inside a building, a woman with protective glasses and yellow hard hat is holding a cutter and standing on yellow platform of a moving vehicle that moves through an avocado orchard.

[To help give you an idea about the kinds of jobs people do in the primary industries, we've interviewed a range of people about their work and what gets them up in the morning.]

Craige Mackenzie: Well actually, some of the very best farmers in the world are right here. It’s not something that we always celebrate, but it’s certainly something that we should be more proud of.

Rangitane Marsden: The future is actually in the younger generation.

Hannah Wallace: There’s a lot of opportunities out there for people, they just need to grab them.

Ian Proudfoot: Any job you want to do, you can do in the primary sector in New Zealand.

Erica van Reenan: There’s huge opportunities for pretty much any career.

Emily Tasker: It’s this perception that agriculture is just farming, and it’s not. You get to start businesses, it’s got so much potential to use all these new technologies. It’s really cool.

Shay Wright: It’s more than just the business. It's actually about how do we create better opportunities for communities, as well as better opportunities for our environment.

Gabi Michael: For me that’s sustainability. I’m building something that’s not all about returns.

Sonia Waddell: We are caretakers of the land, and that’s something that both Rob and I are really passionate about.

Sir Peter Gluckman: The world needs food, the world needs better food, the world needs healthier food, produced in an environmentally sustainable way.

Dr Cather Simpson: We really need to take advantage of the fact that we have not just really strong primary industries here, but we have absolutely fantastic high-tech, innovative researchers.

Dr William Rolleston: What’s going on with precision agriculture, with the use of robotics and drones and all the technology around big data, that’s really exciting stuff.

Traci Houpapa: That uplift in performance, productivity and profitability is going to come from our research, and technology is going to come from innovation.

Dave Maslen: We can innovate and change very, very rapidly, far more rapidly than a lot of our other, competing countries can.

John Wilson: The world’s quickly moving to fresh dairy solutions, far more innovation required, traceability what we call trust in source.

Volker Kuntzsch: What I feel very passionate about is, with my scientific background, to be able to make a difference in this industry and create a great name for New Zealand.

Dr Mark Harris: I’m trying to make farming life better, and I want to be able to look back and say, "Hey, we did those things, and that was pretty worthwhile".

Aaron Gunn: We’re not looking at what we’re harvesting just next year, we’re looking at what we’re harvesting 50 years into the future.

Lindy Nelson: So if you want something dynamic and exciting, and challenging and growing, something that adds real value, providing food and product for people, I say pick agriculture.

Sir David Fagan: There’s never, ever going to be too much food in the world. So there’ll be ups and downs, but long term, farming is a really great place to be in.

Caleb Dennis: You never quite know exactly what the next day is going to bring.  You continue learning and growing, and what you’re doing is making a difference.

Holly Tonkin: Finding your work purpose once you find it you know. I just love my job.

Matt Bell: I know I have found what I want to do because I probably would do it for free "maybe not quite, but pretty close".

[Music: Alive by Graeme James]

[End of Transcript]

Animal welfare

In New Zealand we expect that animals under human care are well looked after. Our reputation for high levels of animal welfare has helped us secure access to markets internationally. New Zealand’s animal welfare law and policies supports society's expectations for the welfare and humane treatment of animals, addresses animal welfare risks, and promotes improved welfare outcomes.

Professional development videos

The animal welfare system (4:07)

LEARNZ field trip teacher Shelley Hersey interviews MPI animal welfare team manager Kate Littin. This video is one of a series to support teachers’ delivery of MPI’s curriculum resources.

[Cows and sheep are shown throughout the video]

[Shelley Hersey at the Wellington SPCA with some kittens]

Animals, they play an important role in our lives providing food and fibre, companionship, education, research and even entertainment.

New Zealand's animal welfare system is based on one law that covers all aspects of animal welfare: the Animal Welfare Act.

The Act puts responsibility on animal owners and people in charge of animals to meet their animals' needs and it sets offences for cruelty to animals including wild animals.

Many organisations including the SPCA and MPI have a role in ensuring animal welfare.

[Interview, Ministry for Primary Industries]

Shelley: We've come to the Ministry for Primary Industries here in Wellington to talk to Kate who is the Animal Welfare Team Manager. Kate, what is actually the difference between animal welfare and animal rights?

Kate: Animal welfare means different things to different people. I guess historically the difference between animal rights and animal welfare was about recognising that animals' needs need to be considered alongside those of people. We do that today anyway and that's what the law requires.

So animal welfare is about the wellbeing of the animal from the animal's perspective.

Shelley: And you talk about the law, the Animal Welfare Act, what does that actually look like in our Primary Industries?

Kate: We have one Animal Welfare Act, for all animals in New Zealand and for farmers and others involved in food production, fibre and other I guess industries involving in animals. In New Zealand, they are the absolute crucial part of the equation, so they need to meet the needs of their animals, they best understand their animals and so on. And then we in MPI and other associations and organisations exist to support them to do that job.

Shelley: So how does the Animal Welfare System actually fit in with our other systems of food and biosecurity?

Kate: So obviously animal welfare is a really important part of both of those systems. For biosecurity, just to give a couple of examples, the things that we do for biosecurity reasons for which animal welfare, you might think about up front would include things like pest management – so the control of possums and rats. Believe it or not, people do care about the welfare of possums and rats and animal welfare is an important consideration in the control of those. Animals that come across the border, we need to decide what to do with them, illegal introductions and what not. Obviously, animal welfare is a key consideration there. For food safety, animals that are well cared for and looked after produce well, and produce safe food.

Shelley: So, why do you think animal welfare should be taught in schools?

Kate: Animal welfare as a subject is really important to many people, but really important to students. It touches on their lives on a day to day basis. It involves the food that people eat, it involves the pets that people care for, the animals that they love and that are part of their family. So we'd argue from that perspective it's really important. There's a really good link between the way that people care about animals and the way that they care for other people so that's another really important dimension. Animal welfare doesn't need to be some kind of a special topic all to itself. It's multi-dimensional, so it touches on so many other different subjects that you teach. And just back again too, it's really important for the animals, it's really important for your students as well and for people.

Shelley: Thanks, Kate.

[End of transcript]

Animal welfare in practice (3:26)

LEARNZ field trip teacher Shelley Hersey interviews SPCA animal liaison and community engagement manager, Nick Taylor. They discuss animal welfare in practice.

[Scenes of the Wellington SPCA and animals are shown throughout the interview.]

[Interview at the Wellington SPCA]

Shelley: We've come to the SPCA here in Wellington and it's the perfect place to talk about animal welfare, and this is Nick who's been working for the organisation for years. Nick, tell us about your job.

Nick: So, my job's pretty exciting. I work a lot with animals and I'm really, really happy to see when those animals get fantastic new homes and we get fantastic outcomes for them. But also working a lot with people as well, and working to really change how we look after animals in the community and what we can actually achieve.

Shelley: And there's some legislation around that, the Animal Welfare Act. How does that impact on what the SPCA does?

Nick: So the SPCA is actually the only approved organisation under the Animal Welfare Act, and that gives a number of powers to the SPCA. That "powers" sounds like magical powers, but powers in terms of abilities to do things especially for our team of inspectors, who are appointed under the Animal Welfare Act, and they can actually go and take people's animals if they're not being looked after properly. So if there's a breach of the Animal Welfare Act, our inspectors can investigate. They can even remove the animals. They can even investigate and help prosecute people too who have breached the Animal Welfare Act, which is really exciting. You could call them the animal police.

Shelley: Indeed, and you talk about breaches, what do you mean?

Nick: So it's often a way just on how the animals are cared for. So all animals need to have their needs met, especially the behavioural needs, but also making sure they've got enough food and water, but also looking at things like shelter and also exercise. So sometimes people aren't caring for their animals properly and so the SPCA may need to step in and help with that. We can help through working with that individual family and working to improve the welfare of that specific animal or actually go down the prosecution path if we need to. At the same time, we also work with people to make sure that they're happy with how they are living with their animals and finding new animals' homes as well. Sometimes unfortunately though, there are times when people do abuse animals, so that's really rough when our team deal with that, but unfortunately it does happen in the community.

Shelley: And why is it something that's important for school students?

Nick: So from our perspective in terms of the SPCA and how the animals are being cared for in the community, we're really keen to improve the welfare lives of all the animals in the community. The kids in this case are going to be the next generation who are going to be the ones caring for the animals and the ones looking out for the care of the animals in the future. There's also an absolute correlation between how people treat animals and how people treat each other. So several studies have shown the link between violence towards animals and the links between violence and people. By encouraging kids and teaching them animal empathy and teaching them about the principles of animal welfare you can actually see an improvement in terms of how the kids are in society as well. From our point of view, sometimes you forget that it's the prevention of cruelty so while it's just exciting when we do get to save an animal or rescue an animal, it's also important that we are changing things in the future, and by grabbing the kids' hearts and minds and really making society change is really one of the ways that we all need to do this together.

Shelley: Great. Thanks, Nick.

[End of transcript]

Other animal welfare videos

Raising champion horses
Sonia and Rob Waddell, co-owners of Riverdale Farm.

New Zealand athletes Sonia and Rob Waddell are co-owners of Riverdale Farm and raise champion thoroughbred horses.

Everything they do is in the animal's best interests.

Watch Sonia and Rob's video on YouTube (2:31)


Working with animals

In 2015, Hannah Wallace became the first woman to win the Ahuwhenua Young Māori Sheep and Beef Farmer of the Year.

In this video, Hannah and her partner Jeremy Bright talk about working with animals.

Watch Hannah and Jeremy on YouTube (2:08)


New Zealand's geographical isolation and strong biosecurity system keep many pests and diseases out of our country. This has allowed our primary industries, environment and economy to flourish. New Zealand's biosecurity system aims to keep New Zealand free of unwanted organisms and is responsible for controlling, managing or eradicating them if they arrive in the country.

Professional development videos

The biosecurity system (3:47)

LEARNZ field trip teacher Shelley Hersey interviews MPI senior policy analyst for biosecurity, Kerry Charles. This interview is part of a series of professional development videos to support teachers' delivery of MPI's curriculum resources.

[Images of biosecurity activities and risks are shown throughout the interview, including detector dogs, fruit fly warnings, and foot and mouth disease.]

[Shelley Hersey at Island Bay, Wellington]

Biosecurity, what is it?

Well, Biosecurity can be defined as the exclusion, eradication, or management of pests and diseases, which pose a risk to our economy our environment, cultural and social values and human health.

The system spans activities offshore, at the border, and within New Zealand.

The Biosecurity system is an integrated, risk management system involving many participants.

It protects New Zealanders, our way of life, our natural and productive resources and our biodiversity, from harmful effects of pests and diseases.

[Interview, Ministry for Primary Industries]

Shelley: Biosecurity is a huge issue for New Zealand. And this is Kerry who is involved in policy around biosecurity for MPI. Kerry, what is some of our legislation behind biosecurity in New Zealand?

Kerry: So we have a Biosecurity Act, which came into force in 1993. And that is the main legislation behind biosecurity. So that was actually a world first. It brought together protection of both the native species and also introduced species, into one piece of legislation.

Shelley: Who is involved in the biosecurity system?

Kerry: Ok, well, there's a lot of people involved. MPI is really involved in it, along with other government agencies, industry, community groups, and actually, every member of the public as well does biosecurity.

Shelley: So what are the risks for our primary industries in terms of biosecurity?

Kerry: Well, it's hard to know where to start, but there are lots of pests and diseases that aren't in New Zealand that we try really hard to not let come into the country. So, off the top of my head a big one is foot and mouth disease. It's estimated that if that got into New Zealand it would cost us about $16 billion dollars. So that's something like $3000 per New Zealander. So, yeah that's just one example. There's many other pests and diseases overseas that we don't want to come in because they will have a big impact on our primary industries. There's obviously also lots of pests and diseases that will impact on New Zealanders' lifestyles and also our native species and environments as well.

Shelley: So, how can some of those risks be managed?

Kerry: So, the biosecurity system works in a layered way. So we talk about managing risks overseas, so making sure that things don't get to New Zealand. We then have border controls as well, so that's what you'll see when you go through the airport, and then we also do a lot of management within New Zealand. So we have surveillance to see if anything's gotten in. If we find a new pest or disease, often we will then respond to it and try to eradicate it. And then sometimes we can't necessarily eradicate a pest or disease, and so then we have to manage it, long term.

Shelley: And how can school students get involved in the biosecurity system?

Kerry: There are lots of things that school students can do. If you were ordering a package from overseas you could make sure when you open it up that there isn't any hitchhiker pest inside, for example. You could do a citizen science project, get involved in something like that, and you can also get involved in trapping pests in your backyard so possums or stoats, those are just some examples. There are many different ways to get involved.

Shelley: Thanks, Kerry.

[End of transcript]

Aquatic biosecurity system (5:32)

Shelley Hersey, field trip teacher with LEARNZ, interviews MPI senior adviser, Eugene Georgiades, about aquatic biosecurity.

[Images of aquatic biosecurity risks and actions are shown during the interview.]

[Interview takes place at Island Bay, Wellington]

Shelley: Biosecurity, it's important to New Zealand because it protects all our natural resources. And I'm here in Wellington with Eugene, who works for the Ministry for Primary Industries. Now Eugene, you work with biosecurity. Tell us a little bit about your job.

Eugene: I'm a Marine Biosecurity Analyst so my job is to basically determine the biosecurity risk of goods coming into New Zealand. They can be – ballast water is classed as a good, bio-fouling - the animals and plants that grow on vessel hulls is classed as a risk good, but it also encompasses ornamental fish as well. I also work with the aquaculture industry to strengthen their biosecurity practices as well.

Shelley: Why is it so important that we protect that environment?

Eugene: Well, New Zealand's marine environment is an incredible natural resource. 80% of New Zealand's native species actually occur in the oceans and more than half of those only occur in New Zealand so, that in itself is worth protecting. In terms of economics and industry, our aquaculture industry is worth about half a billion dollars a year. There's nothing better in the kiwi summer than going to the beach and the majority of New Zealanders live within 50km of the beach, so that's a resource worth protecting. Protecting that kiwi summer lifestyle, the fishing, the beach going. Our indigenous population, the Māori, obviously the sea to them is a treasure and it's an important part of their cultural and spiritual mythology, so again all great reasons for protecting the marine environment.

Shelley: And there's some legislation, The Biosecurity Act. How does that protect the marine environment?

Eugene: Of course there's always going to be some risk involved with goods coming into the country. The Act is basically to minimise those risks and it basically allows people within the Ministry to enforce risk management action.

Shelley: So, you mentioned before bio-fouling. What is bio-fouling?

Eugene: Right, bio-fouling is basically plants and animals growing on the underwater surfaces of vessels. And it's a pretty important pathway for the entry of non-indigenous species into New Zealand. We have unfortunately around 200 odd non-indigenous species in our marine environment and the majority of those can be traced back to the bio-fouling pathway. So, it's a pretty important pathway and a pathway that we're trying to manage in New Zealand.

Shelley: What are some of the ways that you're managing it?

Eugene: Well back in the mid-2000's we didn't know how big a problem bio-fouling was so we did a whole lot of research and sampled a whole lot of vessels and found that bio-fouling wasn't related to a particular class of vessels it was basically related to each individual vessel's operating profile. And you could analyse the risk of those vessels based on how old their anti-fouling paint was and also how long those vessels were spending their time idle in ports and marinas. So the longer a vessel spends idle the more chance a plant or an animal is going to grow on that submerged surface of the hull. So from all that research and some of the research that was going on overseas, we basically came up with a risk analysis and found out that yes, bio-fouling is a risk to all the natural resources that we're trying to protect. And from there we've come up with the world's first standard to protect our values from the risk associated with vessel bio-fouling. And this standard comes into place next year, and it basically means that vessels have to come into New Zealand with clean hulls.

Shelley: So biosecurity, very important for those reasons that you've outlined. But for the general public and for school students, why is it something worth knowing about?

Eugene: Well, why wouldn't you want to protect these natural resources? Why wouldn't you want to protect our industries, our marine based industries? New Zealand has a world-class marine surveillance programme but we always need more eyes on the water. And this is why we try and engage with teachers and school children, recreational divers, snorkelers – pretty much anyone who's out on the water to keep their eye out for non-indigenous species. So we produce pest ID guides for species that we don't have here, and we try and teach people the difference between things that we don't want here, and plants and animals that are native to New Zealand. So, people aren't taking out native species instead of ringing us with non-indigenous species sightings. And the earlier we can get a hold of a non-indigenous species, the more chance we have of eradicating or actually responding to that non-indigenous species. Once something is established in the marine environment, it's very difficult to eradicate it. But we need eyes on the beach and that's what the public can help us out with.

Shelley: Thanks, Eugene.

[End of transcript]

Other resources

Video – biosecurity is everyone's business

Ruud Kleinpaste, the 'Bugman', and others explain why biosecurity is important for all New Zealanders.

Watch the video on YouTube (2:53)

 Handbook – Aquatic biosecurity

The aquaculture handbook outlines ways to minimise biosecurity risks on commercial and non-commercial farms.

Download the handbook [PDF, 7.2 MB]


The objective of the food system is to provide safe and suitable food in New Zealand and for export. It covers all aspects of food safety, and production, processing, transport and retailing of all food and beverages for human consumption, as well as pet foods, animal feed, and agricultural compounds and veterinary medicines.

Professional development videos

The food system (4:27)

LEARNZ field trip teacher Shelley Hersey interviews MPI manager of food science and risk assessment Jenny Reid. This interview is part of a series of professional development videos to support teachers' delivery of MPI's curriculum resources.

[Introduction by Shelley Hersey]

[Scenes of food production and harvesting are shown throughout the interview.]

The food system in New Zealand feeds local, national and global communities.

This system covers the journey from farm to plate, but it's not just about our farm or our plate – it's about national consumption, and international imports and exports.

Keeping this food safe is vital to our community and our economy. Food safety is essential throughout the value chain – from production and harvesting, through the stages of transport and processing, to point of sale, and on to the consumer.


Shelley: We've been talking about food safety, the food system in New Zealand, and this is Jenny who is the Food Science and Risk Assessment Manager for MPI. So what is some of the legislation around the food system?

Jenny: In terms of legislation we're talking about regulation of food from farm to plate, and that's for New Zealanders but it's also to the plate of people all over the world because we are part of the global food supply. So, it's really important that the regulations and legislation in New Zealand is part of that bigger global picture. In New Zealand, we've got a really robust, relatively new set of food regulations that sit under the Food Act 2014. And these look at regulating food on the basis of risk, and not only food, they regulate those that are producing food, those that are preparing food, those that are manufacturing food into the Weet-Bix you might eat or to the food that you might eat at a restaurant. That's all part of the whole regulatory system.

Shelley: So, why do you think it is important for people to be able to trace where their food comes from?

Jenny: There are a number of reasons why - we call it traceability is really important. So if there is a problem with a food, so if there's a food safety outbreak, you want to know where the source of that food came from, you want to be able to trace it back to where it was grown, because the incident might have happened through the growing process, where it was manufactured, or where it might have happened through a food handler. So you want to be able to go back through all the stages and see where that happened. As well as that there's a much greater interest from our consumers to have a sense of where their food’s come from, and one of the growing areas of interest for us and globally is food authenticity. So we need to make sure the food is what it says it is, so that way you want to be able to trace back if it says it's a particular food that's actually what has been presented.

Shelley: And food's something that's really important culturally isn't it?

Jenny: It's a good Kiwi thing for any culture but if you look at the cultural mix in New Zealand we are multicultural. And so you're talking about social occasions for Māori, for Pacific people, where not only the gathering but the food that's produced, the way it's cooked, the way it's presented, is critical to so many things.

Shelley: There's going to be a lot of future challenges around the food system isn't there?

Jenny: Yeah, there certainly are. There are challenges around the health value of food. I mean people are looking at food to provide added value, added health value, I mean food that makes you last longer in terms of your energy. I mean all of these things are coming out all the time. We need to make sure that they are actually happening if that's what is being said. We've also got the growing explosion of technology in terms of the digital world, so we're seeing the selling of food over the internet rather than at the supermarket. I mean how are we going to manage that? It's huge. And that's global that's not just a New Zealand issue, that is the global food supply.

Shelley: Why do you think it's going to be important to teach food systems in New Zealand schools?

Jenny: I think it's really important to teach food safety. I think it's important to teach so much more about food. It's an area where New Zealand is reliant on its primary produce, both in terms of its wellbeing of its people, but [also] its economic growth, its export. It's a great area for children to be learning and developing for their future careers. But we want people that are really food literate. We want people that can work, but we want people to be able to choose, as consumers, good food – not only safe food but really good food.

Shelley: Kia ora – thanks, Jenny.

[End of transcript]

Food safety on a marae (8:50)

LEARNZ field trip teacher Shelley Hersey interviews chef and consultant for marae catering and traditional Māori cuisine, Joe McLeod.

[Scenes of food preparation, food safety in the kitchen, and cooked food are shown throughout the interview.]

[Joe conducts a karakia (prayer) before the interview, to ask for blessings for the conversation that will be had, for guidance in the sharing knowledge and customs around food, and for supporting the younger generation that will take this pathway.]

[Interview begins]

Shelley: Kia ora. Food safety, it's something that we're all interested in because it's important to all of us, and I'd like to introduce you to Joe who is an expert in marae catering. Now, Joe, you've had a really interesting background with all of your expertise in cooking, et cetera. Can you tell us a little bit about that background?

Joe: Kia ora. I was brought up under the realm of tikanga on the marae when I was young. Practically as soon as we could walk we were given a job. I was brought up in central Tūhoe, a place called Matahi, and that's where all my training and my transfer of knowledge happened, from when I could walk right up to where I am now. And I'm still getting fed information by my cousins, aunties, uncles, who are still with us to make sure that our food culture stays intact. And as a professional chef, in the mainstream, I've been cooking since 1972, trained as a chef, qualified in 1980 and been travelling the world since. And my role in that capacity is to train other chefs to do likewise. But for me, it's to transfer the knowledge that I grew up with around the traditional māori cuisine or māori kai on the marae. And, well I'm glad to say a lot of our primary ingredients are still here and the practices that we use to utilise traditional māori cooking methods have long since been closed down, not disappeared, they were shut down in favour for a quicker food foraging process, called Countdown, New World. Whereas a few years ago we had the ngahere 1, ngahere 2, we had a food resource base that was available 24/7. It was just having the knowledge to know what to pick, where to pick it, when to pick it, how to process it and make it food safe, cooked and eaten.

Shelley: So how do you actually go about keeping the food safe on the marae?

Joe: A lot of our marae have refrigeration units now, but a lot still don't. But that's ok. We use chilly bins filled with ice to keep a lot of our food produce fresh and stored properly. But on the marae foods don't sit that long. They more or less arrive on site, they're prepared, they're cooked and eaten more or less the same day. That's if there's a three-day event then fresh foods are brought in every day, or if you're right out in the rural areas where the nearest shop is two to three hours away, that's a different ball game. A lot of the meats are stored under ice or they take generators now. They have chillers on trailers to keep a lot of their fresh foods safe.

Shelley: So when you're preparing a hāngī - quite different. What about keeping food safe then?

Joe: Hāngīs are a different kettle of fish because you can prepare a lot of your vegetables, potatoes, kumara, pumpkin, the day before… cabbages are done the day before. Not too long ahead. And they're left out but covered and kept safe that way. But your meats, your fish, and all the other ingredients that go into the hāngī, they need to be prepared and well stored, properly. Especially if the hāngī's going to be cooked the next day. A lot of preparation that goes into that work is done hygienically. Now, cleaning the marae. We have strict policies there, the marae before everyone turns up is cleaned. It gets cleaned again just to make sure everything is nice and clean. And then it's maintained that way right throughout the event. And after the event the whole lot of our kitchens are stripped and thoroughly cleaned out – everything gets cleaned out: oven, stoves, pots, pans, floors, walls, windows and a lot of the maraes stay naked until the next event. But in our urban kitchens, they are being used 24/7. I can speak for that here in Wellington, and our maraes here get used a lot. Fresh foods, we get it out straight away, served on the table, consumed and we maintain a, quite a rotating process around that, consumed, get another lot in, prepare it, clean it, put it on the table until the event is over.

Shelley: So kai moana, a lot of people enjoy collecting kai moana. What are some tikanga around that and how do you keep food safe then?

Joe: Okay, say we are at the beach, where all the seafood is. The process we use: karakia as per normal, and ask permission to go to the sea, make sure everything is fine. If there are, if there's something wrong with the area then we just don't go there – like pollutants and algae, that occurs a lot now. We read the signs there, and if it doesn't look safe then we’ll go somewhere else. And when you do go somewhere else seek the permission of that tangata whenua to access their areas where seafood are. Seafood on the marae menu: mussels, oysters, pāuas, kinas, crayfish. All of those things. And they require special gathering processes, handling, storage, travel from the sea to the marae, and they're prepared and cleaned. Kinas are cleaned as soon as they land on the marae that day and they're stored into vessels and kept clean until consumption. Same with mussels. They're caught and stored away, with a lot of marae practices still adhered to, to keep the mussels fresh. Crayfish, as soon as they land in, they are more or less cooked, boiled off straight away, and the holding timelines for crayfish is quite long. [About two days they can sit out in the open without too much problem]. But on that subject, we have a food culture on the marae called blue cooking and what I'm talking about, that’s when certain foods are allowed to naturally ferment. Corn is a primary ingredient in that. It's not rotten corn, it's fermented corn.

[Joe conducts a karakia to end the interview, to thank all the people involved and to acknowledge the interviewer and the ideas that were exchanged and shared.]

[End of transcript]

Related videos

The science behind food safety

Food Chemistry Scientist Ellen Ashmore of the Institute of Environmental Science and Research talks about the science behind food safety and research she’s involved in that supports New Zealand’s primary industries.

Watch Ellen's video on YouTube (2:09)

Encouraging innovation

The FoodBowl Chief Executive Alexandra Allan talks about encouraging an innovation culture in New Zealand food and beverage companies.

Watch Alexandra's video on YouTube (2:20)


Virtual field trip

LEARNZ developed a virtual field trip in 2017, titled 'Our primary industries – sustainable futures through animal welfare, biosecurity, and food systems'. The videos, web conferences and diaries are available on the LEARNZ website for your use. The field trip took place over 3 days and has finished, but you can use those resources any time.

The virtual field trip offers teachers and students an immersive and interactive learning opportunity without leaving the classroom. Travel to Nelson to see how some of our primary industries are using science and technology to enhance the value of their products and ensure they remain sustainable.

On this trip you’ll travel to forests, farms, and research centres to see how people are making the most from natural resources to provide food and other products.

Last reviewed: