The Von Pein family in Raetihi know how to hunt and gather a good meal which is why they made the podium at the Waimarino Wild Food challenge again this year.

Ella Von Pein 8, won the grand prize in the junior section for her Turkey Gobble Gobble Me Up selection of dishes and her older sister Jorja came second with her wild rabbit creations.

Mum Charlotte said the girls went out with their father to hunt down their main ingredients and other components were foraged on their farm or in the bush.

"We have a house cow and Ella made a ricotta cheese from the milk and added horopito.
"She also gathered kahikatea berries and made a chutney to go with her dish."

Junior Waimarino Wild Food Challenge winner Ella Von Pein's winning dish Turkey Gobble Gobble Me Up.
Junior Waimarino Wild Food Challenge winner Ella Von Pein's winning dish Turkey Gobble Gobble Me Up.

Mrs Von Pein said Jorja wanted to make haggis for her rabbit ceations but found the rabbit stomachs were too small.

"She went out with her father and shot some hare which are bigger.

"She also made elderflower cordial."

Mrs Von Pein, who is the new entrants teacher at Raetihi School, said she finds there are a lot of educational opportunities in preparing for the Wild Food Challenge.

"When we are walking around the paddocks, I point out various wild herbs and flowers to the girls and we discuss which ones are edible and how they can be used," she said.

Mrs Von Pein was also a winner in the wildest ingredient category with her Magpie Tapas.

"I needed quite a few magpies - my husband shot some on our property and I had some donations from the neighbours.

"They are a bit like quail - there is not much meat on them but it is quite tasty."


Last year, Mrs Von Pein won the overall grand prize for her Nose to Tail Peacock creations but that prize went to Katherine Chittock and Raymond Berry for their Back in the Day Rabbit entry this year.

First runner up prize went to Spry and Mac for Wild Game and Garden and Diane Pratt was second runner up with Hare Today.

Two new categories this year were the Professional section which was won by Chris Parsons of Chateau Tongaririo for Taste of Waimarino.

And the Marae Challenge which was won by Raetihi Marae's Banquet with a Twist.

The three banquet courses were Three Tier Wilderness, Tahu B and B with Kaanga Sweetie for dessert.

Nanny Pare recieved the prize for Best Effort with her mussels, paua, kahawai, rotten corn, smoked tuna and rawena bread entry.

The Wild Food Challenge has previously been held at Waitangi weekend but other obligations saw it moved this year so it coincided with Vintage Weekend.

Organiser Bill Manson said there are plans to schedule the Waimarino challenge for early February next year.