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Sharing kai from crayfish to duck

A love of family recipes and sharing home-cooked kai has inspired a new fundraising project for Wainuioru School.

Six “farming mums” and Wainuioru School parents have teamed up to create Share – a coffee table-style cookbook of “tried and tested” recipes sourced from the wider Wainuioru community.

The parents, members of the Wainuioru School and Community Association [WSCA], spent nine months compiling the book: Featuring everything from chocolate pretzels, to “beautiful big salads”, to cocktails, to tips on cooking paua and locally caught venison.

WSCA chair Bec Trafford said the community came out in force to share their signature recipes and “culinary stories and secrets” – including families who had been in the area for generations, and local institutions Brancepeth House and Te Parae Homestead.

Proceeds from Share, printed by Greenlees Print and launched last week at Paper Plus in Masterton, will go towards the school – “to fund all the extras required to educate the local children”.

Trafford said covid-19 restrictions had shelved the school’s usual fundraiser events, such as garden tours and trail bike rides – so the WSCA needed to come up with a project that couldn’t be cancelled at the last minute “by forces out of [their] control”.

“We hadn’t been able to do what we normally do, and the money was dwindling,” she said.

“The concept of a local cookbook was an effort that did not rely on social gatherings, but that would still engineer authentic family and community experiences through the sharing of food.

“The end result is not your average wee spiral-bound country edition. It’s a beautiful book, with 230 pages of tried and tested treasures from the Wainuioru area, with a truly local flavour and feel.”

Trafford said Share comprises a wide variety of “family favourites”, with highlights including the Pudding, Bring a Plate, and Hunter Gatherer sections [featuring cray pops and instructions on how to shuck paua], and a recipe for “the famous Motukai Martini”.

“It was really important to us that the book reflected the people of the area and their special stories and character.

“For example, we have husbands that are farmers and often have freezers full of venison and duck, so we wanted to cater to that.

“Between the six of us, we would get together and have a big lunch, and sample all the food – including these beautiful big salads using produce from people’s veggie gardens.

“All the recipes use simple ingredients – everything you would find in your cupboard.”

Trafford said compiling the book was “a real journey” – including “a lot of late-night Google Doc sessions”.

“We’ve been going hard since February. A big shout-out to our husbands and families who supported us while we’ve been doing this.

“It’s been a mammoth job, but it’s now my go-to recipe book!”

The WSCA also thanked editor and designer Marg Patete – who “really pushed us to achieve a high-quality result, and was able to make the book authentic to the school”.

Share: Treasured Recipes from Wainuioru is available for $49.99 at Paper Plus and Hedley’s Booksellers in Masterton. To order a copy from the Wainuioru School and Community Association, email [email protected]

Erin Kavanagh-Hall
Erin Kavanagh-Hall
Erin Kavanagh-Hall is the editor of the Wairarapa Midweek. She has been a journalist for the past 10 years, and has a keen interest in arts, culture, social issues, and community justice.

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