The Māoris are the indigenous people of New Zealand and have their own distinctive cuisine that you definitely need to sample on your gap year. The hangi or earth oven is the traditional way that Māori cook food for large gatherings. Meat, vegetables and sometimes puddings are slowly steam-cooked for several hours in a covered pit that has previously been lined with stones and had a hot wood fire burn down in it.
Hāngi: using heated rocks buried in a pit oven. To "lay a hāngi" or "put down a hāngi" involves digging a pit in the ground, heating stones in the pit with a large fire, placing baskets of food on top of the stones, and covering everything with earth for several hours before uncovering (or lifting) the hāngi. Traditional hāngi food is pork, mutton, lamb and chicken, with generous portions of root vegetables such as kumara (sweet potato), pumpkin, carrot, potato, onions and cabbage.
In this sketch by carver and artist Cliff Whiting, birds are being cooked over a fire, and their fat collected in tahā (gourds). Usually a number of spits rested on the horizontal rods and were turned when necessary. The birds were then preserved in their own fat. The containers holding the birds, tahā huahua, were often traded with other tribes.