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Matariki recipes: Uncle Pare’s kai and kōrero

Prepare your Matariki kai with Uncle Pare. Photo / Te Papa

This article was first published by the NZ Herald.

Matariki food that you can cook with your whānau.

Matariki is a time to come together to farewell the dead, spend time with loved ones, share kai, stories, waiata, and celebrate the Māori New Year.

The theme for Matariki 2024 is Matariki Heri Kai: the feast of Matariki. It comes from the Māori proverb, Matariki whetū heri kai, meaning Matariki, the bringer of food.

To celebrate this year’s theme, the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa has shared some special Matariki recipes by Uncle Pare that you can cook with your whānau.

Uncle Pare’s earliest kai memory is parāoa koroua (“old man’s bread”) cooked on hot embers. Growing up, he had many kai influences, mainly the women of his village – his aunties and his nans.

Follow his simple recipes below to learn how to cook some of his favourite kai or watch him demonstrate and describe how kai has shaped his life at

Ko Parekura Tureia tōku ingoa. He uri ahau nō Rongowhakaata.

Ko Manutūkē tōku kāinga tūturu, tōku kāinga noho.

Parāoa koroua: ‘Old man’s bread’ recipe

Uncle Pare shows how to make his "Old man’s bread" recipe. Photo / Te Papa


  • 1 cup of self-raising flour
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar


  1. Preheat your oven to 200C.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together 1 cup of self-raising flour, a pinch of salt and 1 teaspoon of sugar.
  3. With a knife, “cut” through the flour. Add enough warm water (usually half a cup) to make a soft dough.
  4. Turn onto a lightly floured board. Using your fingertips, pull the dough in from the outside to form the shape.
  5. Flatten out to desired thickness.
  6. Transfer to a floured baking tray, and place in the hot oven. Cook for approx 8-10mins.
  7. You may need to flip the bread three quarters of the way through the baking to crisp up the topside.

Note: You can double, triple, or quadruple this basic recipe – adjust your cooking time accordingly.

Chicken anything soup recipe

Warm up your Matariki with Uncle Pare's Chicken anything soup recipe. Photo / Te Papa


  • 1 whole chicken (I used a size 22 because that’s what I had)
  • 1 box of liquid chicken stock (I used Campbell’s)
  • 1 tsp of fennel seeds
  • 4 carrots, peeled and chopped into large chunks
  • 4 celery sticks, chopped into large chunks
  • 1 onion, quartered (I used a large red onion)


  1. Put all the ingredients into a slow cooker, either before you go to bed or before you go to work. Turn on low.
  2. Next morning, or after work, remove the skin and bones from the chicken. Shred the chicken back into the broth. (Optional: Add some extra vegetables, such as parsnip, swede, kūmara, fennel, and corn kernels. Add half a box, or more, of liquid chicken stock to top it up. Turn back to high and cook additions until softened.)
  3. Finally, add some coriander, spinach, puha, or watercress.

Serving suggestion: Serve with parāoa koroua or your favourite crust in a big bowl as is, or with cracked pepper, or drizzle with olive oil and lemon zest, or your flavoured olive oil of choice, or chilli oil, or kecap manis (sweet soy sauce) with fried shallots, or over-cooked ramen noodles.

Any-citrus with any-syrup cake recipe

End your feast with a sweet cake. Photo / Te Papa

Cake ingredients

  • 375g of butter (or substitute with Olivani or similar – I used Olivani), softened
  • 1¾ cups of sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tsp of lemon, orange, or lime rind – or a combination
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 3 cups of plain flour
  • 3 tsp of baking powder
  • 1 tsp of baking soda
  • ½ tsp of salt
  • 1½ cups of sour cream or yoghurt
  • Preserved fruit, to serve

Syrup ingredients

  • ½ cup of orange juice
  • 4 Tbsp of sugar
  • 2 Tbsp of lemon or lime juice
  • Some grated citrus rind


  • Preheat your oven to 180C. Prep a large cake tin.
  • Cream the butter (or marg) and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, and continue to beat. Grate the rind and add to the mixture. (Option: If you have lemon or orange extract, you can add a couple of drops to intensify the flavour.)
  • Add vanilla extract.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the plain flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Sift together or stir with a whisk to combine.
  • Fold half the dry ingredients into the wet cake batter with half of the sour cream/yoghurt. Fold in the remainder of the dry ingredients and sour cream/yoghurt.
  • Spoon into the prepared cake tin, and place in the hot oven. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until it springs back baked. To cool, invert onto a serving platter.
  • For the syrup, I heated the syrup from my preserved tamarillos and topped with toffee almonds. Or you can make your own citrus syrup by heating all the syrup ingredients over a medium heat to boiling point (2-3 minutes).
  • Pour the hot syrup over the cooled cake.
  • Slice and serve with whipped cream or yoghurt and preserved fruit.

Commissioned by the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, the home of Matariki.

- NZ Herald