Hangi kai thrown at chef's house

BELINDA FEEK
Last updated 05:00 15/05/2012

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A Hamilton hangi chef behind a fundraising meal that went wrong got his less-than-fantastic fare thrown back at his house.

The fundraiser, by students at travel and tourism educator Sir George Seymour College in Hamilton, turned into a culinary catastrophe leaving some people complaining of a four-hour wait for what they said was an uncooked meal.

While the man behind the foodie faux pas is backing his creation, he confirmed food had been thrown at his home on Sunday night as buyers who had expected a delicious meal vented their frustrations by catapulting kai at his home and complaining on Facebook before resorting to takeaways.

Hamilton mum Rebecca Beale prepaid for four $10 meals, but was not impressed with the result.

She and about 80 others arrived at the pickup spot at 4pm as advised, only for the meals to arrive at 8.20pm.

She urged her kids not to start eating them until they got home – before being horrified at what she saw.

"It looked like offal," she said. "It's just beyond belief ... it's like raw meat more or less. The mutton was red raw, the pork was pink and bloody and the chicken was pink and inside was bleeding raw ... I ended up giving it to the dogs."

She told the Waikato Times she had been in touch with seven other people who either did not receive a meal or were given a raw one.

The co-organiser and chief chef of the project, whom the Times has agreed not to name, said it was common for chicken and pork to appear pink in a hangi. Out of the about 124 meals, only one may have been raw, he said.

A series of errors arose from miscommunication, poor organisation and a lack of helpers, he said.

Some hangi ingredients had been left in town which caused a delay and it had to be transported from where it was being cooked.

Hinda-Louise D'Ath had ordered seven meals but sent her children to bed with tummies full of baked beans on toast as their meals weren't delivered until 10pm.

"I had to ring him twice and it was raw.

"Everything was pretty much raw, the potatoes, meat. And it didn't have any dessert or anything. ... We just got chicken and it was all bloody.

"We're urban Maori, we don't get to eat hangi unless we go to the marae, so it was like a treat."

College manager Deborah Dove said the school was unaware of the student's initiative for his class and it was not an official school project.

The college was offering refunds to anyone who was not happy with their meal.

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Correction (Published on May 16, on page A03) There was a reference made to a hangi being cooked at a marae in Whatawhata. This was not the case. The hangi was put down at a private residence.

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- Waikato Times

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