Northland — specifically Moerewa — has another reason to celebrate today after Consumer NZ revealed the mid-north town has the best-value hot chips in the country.
The consumer rights organisation sent 22 chip-lovers to every corner of Aotearoa this month on a mission to order, weigh and devour a scoop of chips from as many takeaway outlets as they could manage.
The organisation's deep fried food experts then analysed the results, and found Moerewa Takeaways — where one scoop costs $3 and weighs more than half a kilo — does the best deal in the nation.
They also found Northland overall offered the country's best value with an average cost of 73 cents per 100g of chips.
Hamilton was second cheapest with 80 cents per 100g. The most expensive chips were in Auckland and Tasman, where fast food aficionados paid on average $1.19 per 100g.
Moerewa Takeaways owner Tiki Pedro said he was surprised by Consumer NZ's finding, and shocked when someone turned up to take his photo.
He had even turned down an interview with Consumer NZ because he preferred to keep a low profile. Pedro said he deliberately kept his prices affordable.
''Even though it's a business, it's become a necessity in this community. Sometimes schools will come and order chips, we also have quite a few old people who don't want to cook so they get a piece of fish and some chips.''
Pedro said he had never advertised because his business was based on word of mouth.
Asked if he expected a chip sales boom now his shop had attracted nationwide publicity, Pedro said people already travelled all the way from Paihia and Kaikohe for his burgers.
Moerewa community leader Pamela-Anne Simon was not surprised by praise for her local chip shop.
''They make yummy food, they're locals, and they know they're making it for their people. Why else is it so much yummier, and why else do you get so much more bang for your buck, than anywhere else?''
Simon said it wasn't just a case of relatively low rents allowing Moerewa business owners to keep their prices down — they genuinely wanted to be affordable for their whānau.
Consumer NZ also sent mystery shoppers to Dunedin, Wellington, Wairarapa, Hawke's Bay and Waihi.
They found the cost per scoop ranged from $2.50 to $4.60 with an average of $3.59.
The weight of a scoop also varied widely with the lightest 230g and the heaviest more than twice that at a hefty 510g.
Consumer NZ head of content Caitlin Cherry said that variation made it hard to know what you were going to get when you ordered a scoop.
''We found that small towns tended to be more generous with their chips. Not all scoops were created equal with price differences and quantities varying greatly from chip shop to chip shop," she said.
Consumer NZ's chip study comes just months after the Advocate revealed Hati's Cafe — which is across the road form Moerewa Takeaways — offered the best-value coffees in Northland.
At Hati's a regular coffee costs $3.80 yet is the same size as a large coffee at many other cafes.