Typical Foods in New Zealand

Posted on the 18th October 2018

Trying the local cuisine is definitely one of the perks of traveling around the world. We can’t deny that our stomachs are often not as big a fan as our taste buds, but we’re all happy to take an upset belly for a plate of culture, right?

Admittedly, New Zealand isn’t world-famous for its culinary delights, yet there are plenty of dishes, snacks, desserts or even drinks which the kiwi are proud to claim as their own. Food has been a significant part of the Maori culture for thousands of years, and with 14,000km of coastline it is no surprise that seafood is central to most traditional meals.

Here are a few of the foods you have to try when in New Zealand, make it a challenge to tick of the list, and enjoy!


Hangi: The traditional Maori dish is made up of meat and vegetables slow-cooked underground. Yes, underground! The use of underground ovens is now limited to special occasions, dedicating the whole day to prepare a feast for everyone. Hangi meals are definitely about the cultural experience with a filling dish along the way!

Hokey Pokey Ice Cream: Ice Cream and caramelised honeycomb, pretty awesome combination according to the Kiwis!

Kina: A type of local sea urchin with a hard spiky outer shell and thin fleshy insides. A New Zealand delicacy for centuries.

Jaffas: Not quite our traditional Jaffa cake, a New Zealand Jaffa is a small sugar-coated chocolate ball with an orange flavour. Once day a year, the Kiwis decide to run after the chocolate balls down the steepest residential street in the world, Baldwin Street, during the annual “Jaffa Race”.

Pavlova: An Oz may tell you different, but ask a Kiwi and the Pavlova definitely originated in New Zealand. A much loved desert made up of meringue, whipped cream and fruit, great for the Christmas season of treating ourselves!

L&P: Just another soft drink, a little more lemon and sweetness than Sprite. The beverage takes the name “Lemon & Paeroa”, after the North Island Town’s name where it was first invented.

Whitebait Fritters: Not too easy on the eye, but another must have when in New Zealand, especially along the West Coast of the South Island. Locals “whitebaiters” catch the little fish to make what is more similar to a fishy omelette.

Paua: ANOTHER seafood delicacy, of course! Paua is the local name for a large sea snail. Paua is prepared in a number of ways: raw, fritters, curries… However, it is the Paua shell which you may recognise; they are commonly used as ashtrays, or alternatively, as jewellery and other decorative souvenirs.

Kumara: Not just any sweet potato, an epic, Maori sweet potato. It is used in many ways, traditionally cooked in a “hangi” as mentioned above.

Roast Lamb: Last but not least, a good high-end or pub roast lamb. Although you can easily find this anywhere, the New Zealand lamb is highly praised all over the world and one of the country’s largest export meats. Definitely worth a try if you appreciate some quality meat.


There are certainly many more foods and drinks in New Zealand to experience, from Manuka Honey to Crayfish and Kiwi Burger combinations. Keep an eye out and make sure to indulge in all the delights that the country has to offer if you are lucky enough to be in the area!

Read more posts...

Introducing Lattitude’s New Trans-Tasman Programme!

Lattitude is looking ahead to 2021 and all the possibilities it holds for young people like you who are eager and ready to experience something amazing. Our new trans-Tasman programme is for young Australians to...

Posted 27 Nov 2020

Charles’ Immersive Experience in Poland

Charles wrote to Lattitude to share his experience in Poland with us. He travelled to Poland from New Zealand, arrived in Warsaw in February 2020, and stayed on when the COVID-19 pandemic started. Charles has...

Posted 20 Oct 2020