Two Fish And A Scoop

A Social History of Fish and Chips in New Zealand
Fish & Chips

Rangiora Library 

Friday 31 March 


This is a free event.  Book at any Waimakariri Library, or by phoning: 03 311 8901.

Do potatoes cause syphilis? Why would you eat old salted cod when you can have it fresh? Where can you find more Catholics on a Friday night than mass on Sunday morning? Remember space invaders? Salt, vinegar, lemon pepper, lemon wedge?

Join social historian Te Awhina Arahanga, who is currently completing the first New Zealand book on Fish and Chips, for answers to these questions and more at this fascinating Friends of the Library event.

All over the world cultures, communities, and families celebrate their favourite meal. A dish, which will not only satisfy their hunger, but it is an iconic combination of tradition, flavours, aroma and memories. It is a meal, which celebrates who you are. Where food transforms from being simple nourishment to the body, to feeding the heart and the soul. No matter how exotic or plain, healthy or calorie ridden it may be, it identifies you, your family, your home, your land and your way of life. For New Zealand it’s Fish and Chips.

Her work is more than a walk through Kiwiana, it is an in depth study, educational, entertaining and poignant celebration of our cultural history.

“Not only do I wish to study, research and write, but feel it is valuable to record/photograph as many of the original fish and chip shops across New Zealand that have managed to survive in their original form. Meaning their main focus is remains the selling of Fish and Chips, that they still wrap them in newsprint and preferably the shops date back before the arrival of McDonalds in 1976,” said Te Awhina Arahanga.

Her research attempts to expose the history of where, when, how and why Fish and Chips has a valued importance within New Zealand history and culture.

“Before dealing with these significant histories I feel it is necessary to study the history of the potato. From its beginnings in South America, when European explorers sailed to American shores returning home with gold in one hand and a humble tuber in the other. How the potato became a mystic vegetable, at first not trusted or eaten,” said Te Awhina Arahanga.

Te Awhina is also interested in hearing the public share their stories about NZ’s favourite meal, as she continues to collate her fascinating research.

Te Awhina Arahanga comes from Christchurch and has had extensive experience as a writer and researcher for heritage and historical projects, natural history, Taonga Maori, for developing exhibitions and interpretation for museums. She specialises in oral histories, taonga conservation, archaeology, and exhibitions research. She is also a poet and a writer of fiction and non-fiction, including social history. She is currently completing a social history of fish and chips in New Zealand. Te Awhina was extensively involved with the setting up of the museum in the Ruataniwha Kaiapoi Civic Centre, and more recently with the Kaikoura Museum.