Star turn from kitchen marks Matariki

More than 100 guests were treated to a mid-winter feast at John's Kitchen in Blenheim last night to mark Matariki.

John's Kitchen convener Yvonne Dasler said the celebration of the Maori New Year was a way of brightening people's lives during mid-winter.

The kitchen had held this event annually since it opened in the year 2000. About 105 people were treated to baked ham, mashed potatoes, pumpkin and seasonal vegetables, with pavlova and fruit for dessert, while being entertained by a kapa haka performance by Blenheim group Te Rerenga o te Ra. Matariki and Christmas were the two times during the year the kitchen prepared "something special", Dasler said.

As well as marking Matariki, the night was a way for families who might not be able to afford going to a restaurant to enjoy a mid-winter dinner, she said. "A lot of restaurants around town are advertising mid-winter meals, and they start at around $50," she said. "There's no way ordinary people in Blenheim can afford to take the family out for that."

The Marlborough Express