Hangi marks end of school for lucky pupils

SMOKING HOT: Riverdale School parents and helpers prepare a hangi feast for more than 300 schoolchildren.
SMOKING HOT: Riverdale School parents and helpers prepare a hangi feast for more than 300 schoolchildren.

Riverdale School pupils wrapping up the school year have been treated to a hangi feast as part of an annual celebration that looks set to become tradition.

The school has put on the hangi - a Maori culinary custom which involves smoking food in a covered underground pit - to more than 300 pupils and their families for five years in a row.

Riverdale School parent Nathan Paki said the children brought about 320 trays of food to school between them in preparation for the feast held last night.

Yesterday, parents and former Riverdale School pupils led the preparations of the hangi pit, beginning at 8am so that dinner was served by twilight, to a backing soundtrack of a performance by the school's Te Pouawai kapa haka group.

Principal Debra Peck said the community had made the event particularly special this year, donating hangi baskets so the school did not have to borrow them.

Manawatu Standard