PARĀOA RĒWENA: The Relegation of Aotearoa New Zealand's Indigenous Bread


  • Lindsay Neill AUT University
  • Arno Sturny AUT University



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.

Author Biographies

Lindsay Neill, AUT University

Lindsay Neill is a Senior Lecturer at Auckland University of Technology, Aotearoa New Zealand. His interests include: vernacular food culture, food as identity, and the semiotics of gastronomy.

Arno Sturny, AUT University

Arno Sturny is a Lecturer in Patisserie at Auckland University of Technology, Aotearoa New Zealand. He is passionate about food, and food research, particularly the development of chocolate in Aotearoa New Zealand.




How to Cite

Neill, L., & Sturny, A. (2022). PARĀOA RĒWENA: The Relegation of Aotearoa New Zealand’s Indigenous Bread. Sites: A Journal of Social Anthropology and Cultural Studies, 19(1), 60–81.