NATIVE SPECIES FOR DINNER?

Calls have once again been raised to allow the farming and eating of New Zealand’s native species, with supporters arguing that it will give New Zealand a true local cuisine and also protect the species themselves.

Angela Clifford, CEO of Eat New Zealand, said that the country has imported its food culture from overseas – part of the reason why sheep and beef dominate the farming landscape.

Local chef Monique Fiso, who has made her name by reinventing Māori cuisine and is about to open her first restaurant, said that it was time that the 1953 Wildlife Act, which protects native species from hunting, was amended.

“This is what we want to able to use and serve the general public,” she said. “We want to be able to do things that represent our country. “It would make such a difference because we would be using stuff that is unique to this country and that would strengthen how we are able to represent New Zealand internationally, food-wise. If we were able to have kereru, weka and starting with those two, it adds just so much more to the story. When you read historical books about what we were eating, it’s all through those recordings and it’s a shame, not just for tourists but for all New Zealanders.”

However, Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage said that she didn’t agree, highlighting the current biodiversity crisis throughout the country.

“Populations are not at levels where killing them would be justified.”