PARĀOA RĒWENA: The Relegation of Aotearoa New Zealand's Indigenous Bread
Keywords:Parāoa rēwena, bread, bug, kai, Māori culture, Pākehā, national identity, culinary curriculum
National identity is linked to food. Exemplifying that, many people associate Turkey with pide, Italy with focaccia and, of course, France with the baguette. But what about Aotearoa New Zealand, what breads signifies a New Zealand/Kiwi identity? This paper explores a contender for that role, a bread commonly associated with Māori, Aotearoa New Zealand’s tangata whenua: parāoa rēwena. This research asked eight expert chef/bakers about their views and experiences of parāoa rēwena. Four of the participants self-identified as Māori, and four as Pākehā. Working within a qualitative paradigm and using thematic analysis, this research revealed bifurcated views about parāoa rēwena that clearly differentiated the opinions and experiences of our participants. Within these differences, our findings revealed that the self-identifying Pākehā participants tended to hold imperial views reflecting colonial dominance, whereas the self-identifying Māori participants expressed a more holistic approach to and
mindset about parāoa rēwena. Consequently, this paper proposes that parāoa rēwena becoming the national bread of Aotearoa New Zealand is more likely to occur as an initiative promoted by Māori and not Pākehā. In this way, within an exploration of parāoa rēwena, this paper reflects the politics of palatability in Aotearoa New Zealand as a metaphor of the relationship between Māori and Pākehā.