Outside your comfort zone

As Maori Language Week came to an end, it got me thinking. Maori language shouldn’t just be about one week – if there was more focus on it, we’d have more than four percent of Kiwis speaking Maori.

Wouldn’t it be good if all New Zealanders had an understanding of, and could speak,  another of our official languages? That everyone could, at the bare minimum, say place names correctly and use greetings?

People, what are you afraid of? Learning Maori isn’t only about language, it’s about culture and history. Could it perhaps be that people are worried that their world view might be challenged? Ignorance is bliss and can be mighty convenient.

Being a New Zealander is more than knowing how to do a haka or Pokarekare Ana on your OE in London. How much better would it be if you knew what you were saying?

It was encouraging to see school children participate in the inaugural Maori Language Week parade through downtown Wellington (my son and his school mates loved it). May it grow ten-fold and continue to be a celebration. But what would be more meaningful, alongside, is a Government that makes a real commitment to the language by making it part of the primary school curriculum in every school. It is a no brainer. Knowledge is power. And we all want our kids to flourish and grow.

The children will embrace it and have no issues, it’s us adults and our prejudices that are creating the unnecessary barriers. Just because “Maori is not useful abroad” is not a good enough reason for New Zealand children not to learn it. In our house, my five year old helps me with pronunciation. How joyous is it to learn from your child!

To celebrate Maori Language Week and Matariki in my Garden to Table cooking class, we pimped our shortbread by adding karengo – a New Zealand seaweed. We also translated the recipe into Maori (thanks Paula and Brendon) and had loads of dialogue around the many uses of karengo.

Karengo is available at some supermarkets and most speciality stores and can be used for everything from salads to soups to sweets. Check out Pacific Harvest’s website for ideas.

What you’ll need

1 tsp dried karengo fronds

1½ Tbsp orange juice

140g butter, at room temperature

80g (½ C) icing sugar

150g (1C) plain flour

3 Tbsp cornflour

How to make them

Cover an oven tray with baking paper.

20160704_093703Put the karengo in a small bowl and cover with the orange juice. Set aside to soak up the juice.

Cream together the butter and icing sugar with a wooden spoon (or electric hand beater) until light and fluffy.

Chop the karengo finely and mix into the butter mixture.

20160704_095327Sift together the flour and cornflour. Mix into the butter mixture until a soft dough forms.

20160704_095530Turn the dough onto a very lightly flour dusted surface and bring together into a log shape. Wrap the dough in clingflim and pop into the fridge for 20-40 minutes.

Turn the oven to 160°C.

20160704_102948Remove the dough from the fridge. Unroll the clingfilm and pop onto a chopping board. Chop pieces from the “log” – around 1.5cm thick. Place onto the baking tray.

20160705_101946.jpgBake in the heated oven for about 20 minutes until lightly golden – time will depend on size and thickness of biscuits.

Tino teka!

Oh, and I look forward to the day that school children throughout the country will be able to translate the recipe into Maori themselves.

Karengo Shortbread-imustgetaroundtoit.com

  • Servings: 16
  • Difficulty: easy/medium
  • Print

20160705_101946

What you’ll need

1 tsp dried karengo fronds

1½ Tbsp orange juice

140g butter, at room temperature

80g (½ C) icing sugar

150g (1C) plain flour

3 Tbsp cornflour

How to make them

Cover an oven tray with baking paper.

Put the karengo in a small bowl and cover with the orange juice. Set aside to soak up the juice.

Cream together the butter and icing sugar with a wooden spoon (or electric hand beater) until light and fluffy.

Chop the karengo finely and mix into the butter mixture.

Sift together the flour and cornflour. Mix into the butter mixture until a soft dough forms.

Turn the dough onto a very lightly flour dusted surface and bring together into a log shape. Wrap the dough in clingflim and pop into the fridge for 20-40 minutes.

Turn the oven to 160°C.

Remove the dough from the fridge. Unroll the clingfilm and pop onto a chopping board. Chop pieces from the “log” – around 1.5cm thick. Place onto the baking tray.

Bake in the heated oven for about 20 minutes until lightly golden – time will depend on size and thickness of biscuits.

 

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