PRE-ORDER Kai and culture: Food stories from Aotearoa.

To be published November 2017.

Exploring New Zealand’s local food cultures and contemporary food issues with essays, profiles and recipes.

Featuring Jonny Schwass, Dr Siouxsie Wiles, Giulio Sturla, Fleur O'Sullivan, Angela Clifford, Monique Fiso and many more.

Food tells a story. It contains the expression of a place and the way the land, people, ideas from elsewhere and webs of activities intersect. It is a great connector – we all share in the experience of food, albeit in very different ways.

Freerange – in collaboration with writers, chefs, producers and others in the food industry – is excited to be publishing Kai and culture, a book that takes a look at how our food impacts our culture (and vice versa) and the people involved in creating local food identities. It also explores some of the larger contemporary issues that gather around it. A cultural cook book, if you will.

So what is New Zealand food culture and what is particular to it? A contemporary New Zealand food identity is emerging – one that helps us to understand our place as a Pacific and multicultural nation, celebrates our ingredients and alters ideas from elsewhere to articulate this time and place.

Food involves simple physical processes; it can promote engagement; its social and environmental impacts can be powerful – especially in a country where food is a major economic driver. Through essays, profiles and recipes, Kai and culture canvasses a range of views and stories from local food cultures: food resilience and resourcefulness; questions of access, security and sustainability; how creativity, innovation and appropriation can play out in food; food sovereignty and the desire to reconnect with where it comes from; land use; quality as opposed to commodity; waste minimisation; proximity to source and ideas of terroir; how we get our food information. And how these are all interconnected.

Freerange wishes to thank AUT’s School of Hospitality and Tourism and Meadow Mushrooms for their early support of this project.


This section combines beautiful images and narratives from creative producers and projects that create identities and contribute to our food culture. These are examples of the ways some of the ideas contained with the essays are being applied. These include:

Ahika Kai, Anteater, Black Estate Winery, Cultivate, Food Innovation Network, Garden to Table, Harris Meats, Henry Hargreaves Photography, Kaibosh, Kai Pasifika, Kai Ora Honey, Koanga Institute, Lewis Road Creamery, Otakaro Orchard, Pomegranate Kitchen, Residential Red Zone Rehabilitation, Stone Soup, Yellow Brick Road.


A recipe tells a story, says something about the person making it and what we like to make and share. This is the DIY component of food culture, an immediate way to engage with our food culture through the simple physical processes of food. The recipes have been sourced from contributors and form part of this book’s food web, in an effort to celebrate our ingredients and tell stories through food. A potluck!

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