We’ll skip the rest of the aspic-addled, meringuey-mousse and fondue-flambéed '70s, except to mention that a decade of food that wobbles, glistens, and catches fire is fabulous retrospectively!
Oddly enough, it was Minister of Finance Roger Douglas’s economic reforms in the 1980s that led to a surge of international specialty foods becoming de rigeur, as import tariffs were abolished and import quarantine regulations relaxed.
Immigration laws also became more liberal, which saw an influx of new Asian migrants who influenced local cuisine. The Kiwi cultural cringe factor also started to shift towards a sense of local pride in place, purpose, and products.
In 2014, Peter Gordon made our Pacific Rim fusion cuisine the equivalent of the “It” girl overseas, and New Zealand wine, dairy, meat, fruit, and fish make up over 60 percent of our exported products.
Fast forward to 2023 and the food scene is still going strong. Iconic Wellington restaurant Hiakai has become one of the most acclaimed restaurants in Aotearoa, focusing on the exploration and development of Māori and Pasifika cooking techniques and ingredients. There's the community focused Everybody Eats, a pay-as-you-feel dining concept that offers three-course meals from food otherwise destined for landfill.
Quality cafes, restaurants and bars aren't confined to the inner city either - there's a raft of great options hidden away in neighbourhoods across Pōneke.
The foodie landscape is always changing, but if one thing is consistent, it's that we are spoiled for choice – and if you just can’t choose, there’s always the jewel in our crown: Moore Wilson’s!