Hangi celebrates Matariki

Most of the students were trying a hangi meal for the very first time at Cambridge Middle School’s community hangi for Matariki.

Cambridge Middle School hosted and fed over 750 people last week when the school held a special Matariki hangi for the community.

It took 15 weeks of preparation by the school’s dedicated staff, as well as 70 chickens, 10 pork legs, 10 beef roasts, around 100kg of vegetables and the trusty help of Joe Poka and Gray from the Maungatautari Marae to make it happen.

“We are truly thankful for the expertise and knowledge from Joe Poka and Gray, who did the hard yards putting down the hangi,” said Robyn Wilson, one of the many organisers of the project. “It would not have been possible without our sponsors, koha and donations from our parents and community and supportive staff.”

The meal came out simply delicious, topped off with a side of traditional Maori bread followed by a serving of steamed pudding with custard and cream. “All were very well fed and happy.”

Members of the Maungatautari Marae laid down the hangi with the help of school staff.

A long queue formed once the food was ready, but the school’s kapa haka performed action songs to keep the crowd entertained. Working with the Matariki theme, students also ran interactive activities such as quiz challenges with prizes, jig-saw puzzles, folding paper stars, tattoo stenciling, paper lantern making and more, as well as putting on a stage performance every half hour about the Matariki legend of the stars. For most of the students it was their first time experiencing a hangi.

“Their manners shone and seeing them all sharing our school with their whanau was awesome to watch,” said Robyn. “On behalf of the organisers, we want to once again thank our sponsors, Joe Poka and crew for the hangi mahi, school whanau, staff and community families for bringing it all together. We could not have done it alone, it was a collaborative effort and a community event which we are proud to have put together.”

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