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Marae Cookery an Entree to More Courses


Learning cookery skills on their home marae is the icing on the cake for a group of students from Omahu.

Just weeks into the four-month marae cookery programme, EIT tutor chef Kat Sheridan is finding her students a “fun bunch” who are enjoying their learning.

One of the group, Mike Wati endorses that.

“I love it, it’s awesome,” he enthuses. “It gives us all a chance to learn a whole lot of skills for the future and what we learn we can pass onto the younger ones as well,” says the father of two.

Mike and his classmates are enrolled in the National Certificate in Hospitality (Basic Cookery), which EIT is also offering as a first on Pukemokimoki marae in Napier, Te Pahou marae at Manutuke in Tairāwhiti (Gisborne) as well as a group from Flaxmere on its campus in Hawke’s Bay.

Over 18 weeks, students are learning the basics of cookery, budgeting and how to work out portions in catering for large numbers of people.

Dicing steak for scotch broth, Mike says he and his fellow students have already learnt how to make sauces, velouté and mayonnaise – “now we’re getting into the serious recipes.”

Doreen Nuku also loves the learning, particularly about health, safety and hygiene.

“It opens up another opportunity for me. It’s a ticket for what I really want to do – prepare food on the marae and to do it a lot better.”

Betty Hanara thinks it’s important to learn new cookery skills such as handling knives. “And we’re teaching Kat some new tricks too,” she laughs.

Coming from the same community, the students know one another well and often work together preparing food on the marae.

Kat, who did her initial training as a chef at EIT, likes the real-life working environment of the marae kitchen.

“It’s nice that they are working in their community,” she says of the students. “I think that’s the best part of it, that they are demonstrating tautoko – support for one another.”

Iwi are collaborating with EIT in offering the marae cookery programme as a national qualification. Each marae has assigned a kaumātua to guide students on the protocol for serving food on a marae – tikanga which includes welcoming manuhiri (visitors) and the order of service.

A Level 3 qualification, the National Certificate in Hospitality provides a pathway to Level 4 professional chef practice programmes at EIT Hawke’s Bay.

Written and released by Mary Shanahan for Eit Marketing Director Brenda Chapman


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