Ko au te whenua, ko te whenua ko au
I am the land, the land is me
An AUT community initiative
While traditional hangi has been a part of AUT community for several years, a permantant pit was established in 2023 to make these events more accessible to prepare on a large scale for students and staff.
The pit is located behind AE block of AUT North Campus.
A hangi is a traditional Māori meal that is cooked by steaming food which is usually placed underground.
Hangi holds significant cultural and social importance in Māori culture and has several layers of meaning.
The process of cooking food in the ground signifies a connection with Papatūānuku. Preparing hangi may take several days, involving contributions from various members of the community. Finally, enjoying the prepared meal fosters gathering, connection with one another, not to mention getting to enjoy delicious kai.
Digging a Pit: The first step in preparing a hangi is to dig a pit in the ground. The size of the pit can vary; it must be large enough to fit the stones and wood as well as the food.
Heating Stones: Large, smooth river stones are selected and heated in an open fire until they become extremely hot. Rail iron is also commonly used.
Preparing the Food: The food to be cooked is traditionally wrapped in leaves, such as cabbage or banana leaves, which help keep it moist and impart flavour. Common ingredients for a hangi include meats like lamb, pork, or chicken, as well as root vegetables like kumara (sweet potatoes) and potatoes.
Layering in the Pit: The hot stones are placed at the bottom of the pit. Then, the wrapped food is carefully arranged on top of the stones.
Covering and Cooking: After the food is in place, the pit is covered with earth and sometimes with wet cloth or sacks to trap the heat and steam. This creates an underground oven, and the food is left to cook in the pit for several hours, typically around 3-4 hours.
Uncovering and Serving: Once the food is cooked, the pit is carefully uncovered, and the steaming hot dishes are removed. The result is a delicious and uniquely flavoured meal with tender, smoky, and earthy notes.
From our students
Follow 2023 Lifestyle Nutrition students Mareko Johnson, Jake Le Sueur, Kotua Bwere Kotua, and Aaron Tahu through their Hangi project.