Where’s Wall(ab)y? Wallaby curry for NRC field days treat
26 Feb 2021, 7:30 AM
Where’s Wall(ab)y? A Massaman-style Wallaby curry with poppadum and pickled cucumber will be this year’s free wild food treat to attract visitors to the Northland Regional Council’s Northland Field Days marquee.
The council has transformed all sorts of pest animals, plants and even insects into edible field days treats over the years and for the past several events has forged a great culinary collaborative with NorthTec cookery students.
“With foraging and the story behind where our food comes from playing a big part in what and where we eat today, working closely with NRC to help promote potential pests here in Northland, is a ‘win-win’ situation,” polytech chef tutor Hughie Blues says.
“It’s a fantastic way for NorthTec to introduce our cookery students to both wild foods and a greater range of proteins than the traditional culinary choices.”
Council Chair (and NRC’s Kaipara constituency representative) Penny Smart says as with last year’s deer jerky field days treat, this year’s ‘Where’s Wallaby?’ is designed as a fun way to spark added public interest in the council’s broader, more serious work.
A joint creation by the NRC, NorthTec Level 4 cookery students and Mr Blues, the council expects to give away about 3000 portions of the curried marsupial over three days from the council’s usual field days spot.
Chair Smart says 70 kilogrammes of wallaby will be used for the curry, the meat sourced from the South Island where Blenheim-based Premium Game hunts the wallaby.
The council says wallaby was chosen for this year’s event after several unconfirmed sightings in recent years of the pest – long present in other parts of New Zealand – in the north.
Despite intensive searches, no wallaby were found in the region, but the council is keen to see them kept out of Northland because if they were to become established they could completely destroy the understorey of its kauri forests.
Wallabies could also prove costly to the farming and forestry sectors as they eat pasture and both native and exotic seedlings.
For anyone keen to try some of the wallaby curry, the best time to visit is around 10:30am or 12.30pm each day of the Thursday 04 to Saturday 06 March field days.
Aside from the wallaby curry giveaways, the council will also be providing information and advice on various other aspects of its work. This includes material on controlling pest animals and weeds and also on those species that must be reported to council.
“Specialist council staff across a range of fields will also be available to offer advice or chat about land and other issues people may have and several councillors also plan to attend.”