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34 Recipes to Celebrate Matariki

Jul 14, 2023 | 0 comments

Matariki is known as Māori New Year, marked by the appearance of the Matariki cluster of stars in the sky (also known as the Pleides or Seven Sisters). This generally happens in New Zealand in mid-Winter – depending on when the star cluster appears in the sky.

It’s recently been marked with an official public holiday in New Zealand, designed to be a time to reflect on and remember family and friends no longer here and to look toward the future. Part of that includes the opportunity to spend time with family and friends and one lovely way to do that is with food!

This post covers everything you might need for a celebration – fun, easy recipes for brunch, party snacks and appetizers, as well as more traditional mains and delicious sides and of course, delicious sweet treats to finish things off.

Easy Brunch Ideas

Shakshuka in a small black pan with toast and dukkah on the side.

Easy Shakshuka

Perfectly poached eggs nestled in a harissa-spiced, luscious tomato sauce makes a wonderful, easy-to-scale brunch option to share with friends and family.

Plus, it’s super quick and easy to make.

Vogel's style bread on a marble and wooden board, with 2 slices taken out of it.

Vogel’s Style, No Knead Seed Bread

Every Kiwi knows the joy of Vogel’s bread. There’s just something about that lovely, seed-stuffed, moist bread that is so deliciously comforting. It makes the best toast around and I bet you won’t be able to stop at one slice!

This recipe takes less than 5 minutes to prep and you’ll be tucking into the best toast of your life in only an hour. No kneading, no waiting for it to rise. It couldn’t be easier.

8 baked and iced cinnamon rolls in a baking paper lined cake tin with pumpkin spice in a small bowl in the background.

Easy Pumpkin Spice Cinnamon Rolls (No Yeast)

The only thing that can make cinnamon rolls better is a cinnamon roll recipe that LITERALLY takes 40 minutes from start to finish.

It uses my favourite magical two ingredient Greek yogurt and self-raising flour dough, so you don’t have to wait for it to rise, or knead it. Perfection.

A hand holding an almond croissant with more almond croissants in the background.

Speedy Almond Croissants

It seriously is so easy to turn basic, store-bought croissants into enviable French bakery-style almond croissants. They’re the perfect celebration brunch dish and can be prepped in advance.

They take about 25 minutes from start to finish and are just as delicious as anything you’d find at a bakery. Plus, they’re a whole lot cheaper!

Appetizers and Party Snacks

Close up of a white scalloped bowl of marinated olives, with skewers on the side.

Quick, Easy Marinated Olives

You can buy little pots of marinated olives at grocery stores, but they’re always very expensive. Luckily, you can EASILY make them yourself, using regular store cupboard staples. They’re cheaper, more delicious (you can control the flavours that go into them) and will last a whole lot longer.

A bowl of these on the table or as part of an antipasti spread or grazing board is always a crowd-pleaser. 

Wheel of camembert on a wooden board with oozy cheese spilling out, topped with pomegranate seeds and herbs.

Honey Harissa Baked Camembert

Baked camembert is the ULTIMATE luxurious appetiser for entertaining. It looks so impressive, but it’s easy and quick to make. This version is made extra special with the addition of honey, harissa and juicy pomegranate seeds for the best sweet, spicy, super oozy delight.

Sliced bacon and egg pie on grey marble background, with pesto and tomatoes on the side.

Quick Bacon, Egg and Tomato Tart

This SUPER easy bacon and egg tart is a twist on the classic New Zealand bacon and egg pie. It’s easier, quicker and has all the flavours of the original, with a few flavour-packed tweaks. It’s perfect for parties and always a crowd-pleaser. Top with a dollop of basil pesto for a fresh, zingy finish.

Hand swirling piece of bread through olive oil dip on a large white plate.

Loaded Bread Dipping Oil

Bread dipping oil is the easiest – and quickest – appetizer for entertaining. Just mix a pile of gorgeous ingredients (think sundried tomatoes, parmesan, garlic and herbs) with olive oil and serve with soft, warm bread for the ultimate crowd-pleaser.

Three beer battered fish sliders on a baking paper lined wooden board with tartare sauce on the side.

Beer Battered Fish Sliders

Ultra-crispy, light beer batter, super tender fish plus soft brioche buns make the most wonderful mini fish sliders, perfect for parties and special occasions. Add zesty tartare sauce and crunchy lettuce for the perfect bite that’s easier to make than you’d think.

Marinated feta in a white scallop edged plate with a gold spoon inside and pita chips on the side.

Quick, Easy Marinated Feta

Marinated feta is SUCH an easy, quick party snack that looks super impressive but is deceptively simple. Just dice feta, mix a store-cupboard staple marinade and pour it all over. Serve with pita chips – or by itself – for the perfect crowd-pleasing bite.

A small white plate of chilli oil topped super smooth hummus, with pita chips on the side.

Creamy, Super Smooth Hummus

Hummus has to be the ultimate party dip – and it’s SO easy to make yourself. Not only is it much more delicious, it’s also a lot cheaper.

Drizzle with chilli oil and serve with pita chips to elevate it into something super special.

Crispy halloumi fries piled onto a small white plate and drizzled with tahini sauce, spring onion and pomegranate seeds.

Crispy Baked Halloumi Fries

These super crispy halloumi fries are baked for a quick, mess-free, egg-free result. No deep-frying, no sticky coating and you’ll have gorgeously gooey fries in just 25 minutes. Serve with a creamy tahini dipping sauce for a Middle Eastern-inspired party snack.

3 pulled pork sliders on a small wooden board.

Sticky Pulled Pork Sliders

Pulled pork sliders are the ultimate party bite. Juicy, sticky, super tender pulled pork is piled onto soft buns and paired with a crunchy slaw, creamy aioli and sweet chilli jam. They’re easy and perfect for prepping ahead of time.

Marinated mini mozzarella balls in a small white plate with a gold spoon.

Easy Marinated Mini Mozzarella Balls

These gorgeous mini mozzarella ball balls are tossed with a zingy, lemony, herb-packed marinade to make the best, easiest party snack that takes just 10 minutes to make. Serve up with crispy pita chips, fresh focaccia or in a bowl by itself with skewers on the side.

One cut open mince and cheese pie on a plate with beef and cheese filling oozing out, with tomato sauce on the side and another small mince and cheese pie on the plate behind it.

The BEST Mince & Cheese Party Pies

Mince and cheese pies are a New Zealand classic for a reason. Crispy buttery pastry, intensely savoury minced beef and a creamy, oozy melted cheese topping? Yes, please! I love making these as mini pies for the ultimate party bite.

Hand dipping pita chip in sundried tomato feta dip on a small blue and white plate.

2 Minute Sundried Tomato & Feta Dip

All you need is a block of feta and a jar of sundried tomatoes to make this 2-minute super creamy sundried tomato and feta dip. It’s deliciously deep in flavour and pairs perfectly with your favourite crackers for the best snack or party bite.

The Main Event

Close up view of golden brown roasted chicken on a white oval plat.

Juicy Lemon & Herb Roasted Chicken

Everyone should have a recipe for roast chicken up their sleeve, and this one, stuffed with the most gorgeous lemony, herby flavours is pretty special. It’s also incredibly easy, with limited hands-on time. It makes the perfect showstopper to serve up for special occasions.

Square pieces of slow roasted pork belly on a wooden serving platter.

Fall Apart, Crispy Slow-Roasted Pork Belly with Spiced Plums

It’s hard to think of a more irresistibly juicy and tender roast meat than this gorgeous crispy pork belly. It’s absolutely perfect for special occasions and parties.

It takes no time to prep, then just let the oven do all the work. Served with a sticky plum sauce, it makes a wonderful centrepiece to feed a crowd.

Whole roasted cauliflower topped with sesame seeds, coriander, spring onions and tahini.

Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Miso & Tomato Pesto

This whole roasted cauliflower makes a seriously spectacular vegetarian centrepiece. It’s loaded with a punchy Asian-style marinade and served on top of an addictive tomato pesto you’re going to love.

It also uses a clever time-saving hack for pre-cooking the cauliflower to give you the best result, every time.

White plate with rice and butter chicken with bowl of butter chicken in the background and garlic naan.

Creamy New Zealand Style Butter Chicken

There’s something SO comforting about a bowl of creamy, fragrant butter chicken. It’s New Zealand’s favourite takeaway dish for a reason! This version takes just 20 minutes (including cooking the rice) and uses a secret, very Kiwi ingredient that might surprise you.

Bolognese Rice Bake on a small white plate, with another plate of the bake in the background.

Cheesy Bolognese Rice Bake

This cheesy bolognese rice bake has all the flavours of lasagne, with a little twist. A layer of seasoned rice and rich bolognese is topped with gorgeously creamy, cheesy bechamel sauce, making a wonderful family-friendly recipe, fab for making ahead of time.

Maple miso glazed salmon fillet with pomegranate almond salsa, with lemon wedges on the side.

Maple & Miso Glazed Celebration Salmon

This has to be the easiest, most impressive centrepiece around. It’s so quick, so full of flavour and just looks so lovely on the table.

The most wonderful thing about it is that the salmon is great served at room temperature – meaning it’s TOTALLY fine to make ahead of time. None of the stress of trying to juggle oven space when you’re entertaining which is always a win!

Perfect Sides

Large white and blue serving bowl with colourful butternut squash salad inside and pomegranate seeds on the side.

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Feta & Pomegranate

Colour, texture, flavour. There are just so many wonderful things going on in this vibrant salad. Sweet, creamy squash, salty feta, fresh pomegranate seeds, a sharp miso dressing and the MOST delicious crunchy salted honey pumpkin seeds you’ll be wanting to make much more of.

8 garlic butter topped rolled assembled on a baking paper lined wooden board with bowl of garlic butter in the background and one roll torn open.

Quick, No Yeast Garlic Butter Dinner Rolls

These addictive garlic butter dinner rolls take garlic bread to a whole new level and take just 35 minutes. Mix flour and yogurt, form into balls, pop in the oven and brush with a divine garlic herb butter while hot. No yeast, no kneading and no stress.

Miso roasted sweet potatoes on labneh, with chilli lime salsa on top on a white plate.

Miso Roasted Kumara Wedges

Tossing kumara wedges with a zingy miso glaze and roasting them until golden is a pretty unbeatable combination. They’re easy to make, addictive and can be enjoyed hot or cold. Pile them onto creamy labneh, drizzle with fresh salsa and you’ve got a star of a dish.

Crispy golden potatoes on a white oven plate with large gold spoon on a wooden background.

SUPER Crispy Skin-On Roast Potatoes

Roast potatoes always have a starring role on any celebration table for me. There’s something so comforting about that soft, buttery centre and incredibly crispy crust that just keeps me going back for more. And contrary to popular belief, you truly do not have to peel your potatoes to get an UNREAL roast potato.

7 pieces of focaccia on a wire rack with a small bowl of chilli oil on the side.

Easy No Knead Chilli Cheese Focaccia

Bread always deserves a spot on a celebration table and if you’re new to bread making, this super easy no-knead focaccia is the best place to start. Just mix your ingredients, then let the dough rest and do its thing. No fancy ingredients, no special equipment and you’ll be enjoying the most deliciously soft and airy focaccia in no time.

Top with chilli oil and gooey mozzarella to take it to another level.

Crispy dukkah potatoes on a bed of aioli with thyme and pink tahini scattered on top.

Crispy Dukkah Crusted Potatoes with Aioli

Give your roast potatoes a colourful, spiced twist with these crispy dukkah potatoes. Piled on top of creamy garlic aioli and drizzled with a super gorgeous pink tahini sauce, they’re fragrant, delicious and seriously addictive.

Parmesan roasted cauliflower salad on an oven blue plate with crispy parmesan and prosciutto.

Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower Salad

Charred, golden cauliflower roasted with parmesan, piled onto Caesar sauce and topped with crispy parmesan and prosciutto makes a very luxurious salad the whole family will love. And the best part? It takes just 30 minutes to make.

Garlic butter roast potatoes in a blue oven dish.

Garlic Butter Potatoes

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, there’s not a lot that garlic and butter don’t improve. These potatoes are another example! I LOVE a potato dish, especially when they’re roasted until soft and buttery on the inside and crispy and delicious on the outside. Tossed in a quick garlic butter sauce, these are always a crowd-pleaser.

Something Sweet

Iced chocolate Afghan biscuits on a wire rack on a white marble background.

Classic Chocolate Afghan Biscuits

The perfect nostalgic weekend baking project.

Chocolate Afghan biscuits are a New Zealand classic. Crunchy, ultra-buttery, chocolatey, cornflake-stuffed and slathered with gooey chocolate icing, they’re an incredibly easy, FAST, all-in-one bowl biscuit recipe that needs no special equipment.

Peach almond galette cut into 3 slices with a fork and knife in the background.

Peach, Almond & Coconut Galette

A galette is essentially a free-form tart, and it’s truly one of the easiest desserts you can ever make. In basic terms, it’s sliced fruit wrapped in pastry dough and baked. And it’s seriously tasty.

This one is pretty special. It combines juicy peaches with a luxurious almond coconut frangipane and super flaky, buttery pastry. It also looks super impressive – your friends and family won’t believe how simple it really is to make.

Chocolate dipped Anzac biscuits topped with rose and coconut on a lined tray.

Chocolate Dipped Spiced Anzac Biscuits

All Kiwis (and Aussies) will have their own recipe for – and their own memory of – Anzac biscuits. Whether it’s the teeth-breaking, super crunchy version, or the soft chewy cookie the homely, caramelly flavour is always deliciously moreish.

My version is delicately spiced and dipped in rich dark chocolate for an elevated twist on a delicious favourite. Plus, they take just 25 minutes to make.

Two mini, berry topped pavlovas on a baking paper lined wire rack with more pavlovas behind them.

Mini Berry Ripple Cheesecake Pavlovas

Mini pavlovas are a beautiful, showstopping dessert option for any celebration. These cute mini versions of the classic are swirled with berry puree before baking, then dolloped with a velvety cheesecake topping for an elevated twist on regular whipped cream.

Top with your favourite mixed berries for the ultimate crowd-pleasing dessert that’s easier to make than you’d think.

Looking for more celebration ideas?


I’m Kate, the creator behind Dished. I love creating flavour packed, simple (ish) recipes for you, designed for every day and special occasions.





This e-book includes my absolute favourite fakeaway recipes (popular takeaway dishes you can make at home!)

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