GOLOCAL

A drive through hāngī is being offered by a Rotorua tourist attraction that's doing its best to capture a new market.

Mitai Māori Village is offering the drive through hāngī on Friday night where customers can pre-book and pre-pay before collecting their meal at a specific time without having to get out of their cars.

The business, which offers a cultural experience and hāngī meal, has been hit hard from the coronavirus pandemic like other tourism attractions and shut its doors to visitors on March 23.

Business owner and cultural identity Wetini Mitai-Ngatai said his staff were keen to work and they wanted to do their best to capture the domestic market.

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"We don't want to sit around here looking like a carving. It's a new thing for us but everyone's excited," he said.

Mitai-Ngatai said the hangi was particularly sought after because it was cooked the traditional way - in the ground using heat from hāngī stones

Staff at Mitai Māori Village preparing a hāngī. Photo / Supplied
Staff at Mitai Māori Village preparing a hāngī. Photo / Supplied

He said he and the staff were proud of their hāngī .

"I enjoy it because it's a real full-flavoured hāngī."

Those who have pre-booked on their website are given a pickup time and an area in the village has been created where customers can drive in, turn around, get their hāngī brought out to them and leave.

Mitai Māori Village was also offering free delivery for orders of 10 or more hāngī.

As a further extension to their business, they also plan to launch their new food truck business where they will sell paleo and vegan-friendly hāngī from different locations around Rotorua.

Wetini Mitai-Ngati. Photo / Andrew Warner
Wetini Mitai-Ngati. Photo / Andrew Warner

Mitai-Ngatai said they were hoping to tap into the expected influx of visitors this long weekend.

He said the paleo hāngī would include gluten and dairy-free options and the vegan hangi would have root vegetables and no meat.

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He said it was a definite testing of the market and a way to help his staff.

"We have a staff of 75 to 80 people. We haven't let anyone go and we don't intend to. They are keen to work and want to get out there and do something."

What's in the hāngī?
* Lamb, chicken, potato, kūmara, pumpkin, bread stuffing, topped with gravy
* Side of rēwena bread
* Dessert of steamed pudding with custard