Kia ora, koutou. Haere mai – welcome to Kaimangatanga.
I created this space as a way to keep a record of and share my favourite plant-based kai recipes. I also want to use this as a platform to explore a kaupapa Māori plant-based lifestyle ethic. At the moment, I primarily use plant-based recipes and ingredients from around the world. However, I want to move towards a diet that incorporates more local and home-grown produce and find meal ideas and inspiration closer to home. I am in the midst of beginning a humble garden, learning more about edible native species I can grow and forage for, and I am keen to find out how to utilise those plants as my tūpuna did, and of course as many of our people still do.
For a long time I felt that my Māoritanga couldn’t sit very well with my leanings towards plant-based kai and ethics, mainly because much of the kai we prepare and share includes products derived from animals. However, I have since realised that my Māoritanga in fact informs and supports this lifestyle in many ways. For me, whakapapa means I acknowledge my relationship with and connections to the world around me, including other animal species; kaitiakitanga prompts me to care not only for Papatūānuku and the environment, but to care for other species too – to respect and protect their mauri; tino rangatiratanga for me means taking steps to decolonize my thinking, my actions, and my diet; and manaakitanga inspires me to be more conscious about the kai that I prepare for others. I also think these tenets of Te Ao Māori allow for a more nuanced approach to our taonga made from animal materials, and to māhinga kai too. This is why I prefer the term kaimangatanga to veganism. I am thankful for the online communities which support their members in this kaupapa, as well as friends and whānau members who share their knowledge and ideas with me.
As a whānau we are also making changes to have less plastic in our whare, and to generally reduce the amount of waste we produce. This is hard at times with our busy lifestyle with mahi, raising our son, and a decent commute to and from the city each day. But we are trying our best and are interested in learning how others are implementing a para kore kaupapa in their homes too. We think that’s a key component of kaitiakitanga. So too is being aware of the working conditions of those who make the kai we purchase and consume, and the processes used to get that kai from wherever it is grown to the shelves in the shop. It feels like lots to think about. But we are making changes and learning as best we can. We also acknowledge that we are in a privileged position to be able to make some of these kinds of decisions – it’s not easy for a lot of people out there. We’d all do well to keep that in mind as we venture in our different waka.
This is a place to discuss some of these ideas, share thoughts, questions, ideas, experiences, suggestions, and of course, recipes. I hope you enjoy it.
Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou.