Where the Wild Foods Are

Friday 11 February 2011, 4:52PM
By Hokitika Wildfoods Festival


When you go down to the Wildfoods Festival in Hokitika on Saturday March 12, you’d better go in disguise for every creature that ever there was will gather there to eat or be eaten.

As picnics go, the festival has spent the past 21 years earning its deserved reputation as the most outrageous wildfoods experience. With its penchant for introducing new menu challenges each year, the festival is now established firmly among the top 300 unmissable festivals in the whole world, as rated by Frommers Travel Guides.

Disguises are de rigueur for many returning patrons who vie for the top costume prize of an overseas holiday. The 22nd anniversary theme of Where the Wild Foods Are will ensure innovation is to the fore – patrons are expected to be indistinguishable from the dishes on the menu.

A wide variety of top class music makes for a wonderful weekend of foot stomping and prancing - with each year’s line-up surpassing the years before.

Top liners, the fabulous Beat Girls, will rock the huhus out of the crowd with their tribute act. Add jazz, blues, country blues crossovers, junk shop guitar folk rock, and covers of greatest hits – and you have something for every taste from a menu of accomplished bands.

The Royal New Zealand Ballet will turn lunch into a visual treat with its Tutus on Tour interactive workshop. Let alone the spectacle of the Hokitika Belly Dancers.
Among the new foods this year are:

  • Free tastings of weka – along with tastings of pukeko
  • Horse semen shots (washed down with a big swig of Red Bull)
  • Kaio (sea tulip) shots
  • Raw and cooked scorpions
  • And several scrumptious but less adventurous treats like venison chilli and garlic sea cucumber.

Organiser Mike Keenan says, “The quality of absolutely everything at the festival gets better each year. We’re like a fine wine – maturity becomes us.”

The return of Monteith’s as the beer of choice has been widely welcomed.