Tuesday, 2 May 2017

MAKETU - downhome New Zealand by the sea

Maketu (Bay of Plenty, New Zealand) population 900, or thereabouts.  Coastal village, home of the Maketu Marae (communal and sacred meeting grounds).

Maketu is the landing place of the Te Arawa canoe which sailed from Hawaiki over 800 years ago bringing the first Maori people to NZ's shores.  
A small coastal settlement with a tasty history.   A picturesque little corner of 'the land of milk and honey'.

These girls are champions.  Born and bred in Maketu. Karena and Kasey won NZ masterchef in 2014, received an international award for their cookery book, and have now travelled  all over the world filming for their TV show.

This weighty tome (over 1 1/2 kilos) ,
 was hauled in a suitcase by my whanau (family) from the southern to the northern hemisphere and then toted through most of Europe in hand luggage to end up on my greek island

Tuatua and takakau

Tuatuas are shellfish.
As kids we used to dig for them in the sand at low tide, twisting the toes to make small holes.  Tuatua fritters were the best.

Takakau is Maori bread. 
 Flour and water and a little salt and baked in the oven.  This soaks up the juices of the tuatuas.

At high school, in Te Puke, just down the road, I had a friend whose mother made us traditional  Maori fried bread. There's a recipe in the book for 'Aunty Ngani's fried bread'.  Even better than the Greek maiden aunts' fried  cheese bread.

This cookbook has a wide range of NZ recipes from the old English style cooking that I remember, local Maori dishes, to the new Asian styled food  that NZ seems to have adapted into its own unique cuisine.

Maketu is home also to -

 Maketu Pies,  the home of the best pies  in the Bay (Bay of Plenty, North Island, New Zealand)   

These awesome savoury meat pies are an iconic New Zealand food (yeh, yeh, and Australian), bought from the school tuck shop and gobbled down for lunch, scoffed at rugby matches, sold from petrol stations and gourmet bakeries alike.

Oh that savoury aroma of baked pastry and steamy hot mince. How do I get that out of my mind now? Homemade in Greece is just not the same

Seaside Cafe

Beachside Cafe and Restaurant, eat your fish and chips or enjoy fine dining right on the beach.  Gets a big Yuuuuuum on Trip Advisor

Maketu Fish n Chip shop

All fresh and local. Immortalised in an oil painting by landscape painter Robin White. 

Mussels, oysters, kiwi burgers, kumara chips and the best fish 'n chips in the Bay, served with NZ classic, Watties tomato sauce.

I presume they also have those old favourites of mine paua (abalone) fritters and battered sausages, just as artery clogging as they sound.  Meat pies are supposed to be rather fatty too, a whopping great golf ball of fat in every pie, though I know kiwis have their own healthy versions as well.

Maketu Beach Holiday Park.

One of our cousins stayed in this front cabin, literally on the beach.  They are spartan inside but exactly what you need for a simple beach holiday.  The sound of the surf breaking right outside their door must have lulled them off to sleep (or kept them awake all night)

My little bro helping to clean up the oil spill from Maketu beach after the wreck of the freighter Rena (unfortunately Greek owned) further down the coast.  

Painting by local artist from further up the cliff, almost the same view my brother gets from his front porch.  An idyllic view for a lifetime surfer.

Doing the tourist thing in NZ.  Not at the Maketu Marae but at the maori village of Whakarewarewa


  1. How lucky is your brother to have such a beautiful view.
    You are homesick even after 40 years in your new country, i can understand that.We often talk here about NZ as the best country to live at.

    1. I wish it was closer so I could visit more often! It is over 10 years since I have been in NZ. It sure is beautiful but far far away.

    2. I wish my English was better,i have so many things to say, like Rachel i think that you are a brave woman and very lucky to have a close and happy family.

    3. Thanks Yael. I am lucky to have my two girls and my grandchildren very close. We see them almost everyday. And my family from New Zealand and Australia visit almost yearly.

  2. I feel for you not having been back in over 10 years. You must have been a brave young girl.

    1. The first time I stayed in Greece for 11 years before returning. Then I was homesick. Now, I've got used to the idea that I may never see NZ again. You learn to live and be happy with what you've got.
      Culture shock is long gone but I will always be a foreigner...in both countries

  3. Love the painting. It looks like paradise.

    1. Green, green and more green is what I think of NZ! It rains a lot but the sun shines a lot. They have a great life there

  4. I would love to visit New Zealand, it's a shame it isn't closer for you xx

    1. I could hardly have gone further away!! I used to love flying but travelling in airplanes no longer has any attraction. I am happy where I am!

  5. My sister lives in Whangarei, right up in the north of the north island. A wonderful part of the world.

    1. It is indeed a beautiful part of the world. Sunshine, everything grows like mad and the North has usually has a very hot summer. I hope you have visited!!

  6. I've been to the tourist place in Whakarewarewa
    I copied and paste that word lol
    And yup meat pies are an Aussie tradition too especially at the footy as I'm a Victorian we follow the AFL
    the soup I made wasn't traditional. But then I'm a mixed up kinda gal so that's ok lol

    1. Locals call it just Whaka, slightly easier! I go there verytime I go back, even love the smell.

      Aussie rules football? We went ot a match once in Perth. Great entertainment!!! And great aussie pies!!

  7. A fabulous post - but I am being dragged away to a plant sale, back for a proper read later.

  8. Sigh! Back home, gone but not forgotten