Not your common or garden pork roll
Northland Regional Council specialises in serving food using pests as ingredients at the Northland Field Days, and will do again this week, Thursday to Saturday.
And while this year’s offering doesn’t sound quite as exotic as some in the past, sticky pulled wild pork hawker rolls will carry a serious message.
A joint creation by NRC, NorthTec Level 4 cookery students and their tutor Hughie Blues, the roll, ‘with a taste as big as its name,’ is billed as a delicious mix of wild pork, watercress, kawakawa tea and ginger mayo.
Kaipara councillor Penny Smart said over recent years the council had transformed a variety of pest animals, plants and even insects into an array of edible treats as a fun way of sparking public interest in its broader work.
Last year’s taste sensation was wattle seed-flavoured ice cream, previous offerings including rabbit rissoles, burgers, pies and pate all made from possums, wild pork, venison and goat meat pies, rabbit sausages and wasp larvae ice cream.
The council appreciated that wild pork was a valued source of free food for some Northlanders, she said, but feral pigs posed potentially serious threats to the region across multiple fronts, including environmentally and economically.
The were a potential vector for kauri dieback disease, which the regional council had invested large amounts of time and resources into trying to control, and could be quite physically destructive, digging up the ground in bush and pasture while hunting for food.
They could also prey on ground-dwelling animals, including birds and their eggs and other natives such as snails, lizards and frogs.
NRC had teamed up with the hospitality students last year to create the wattle-seed ice cream, and Cr Smart was delighted that the two organisations had collaborated again this year, as was NorthTec’s director of development, Phil AlexanderCrawford.
“It’s another chance for our Level 4 cookery students to work on something a little bit out of the ordinary, and they and Hughie will be on-site over the three days, preparing and serving the food,” he said.
“It’s always good for our hospitality students to get out and about, catering at events and gaining experience that will help them get into a great career.”
Cr Smart said the council expected to give away about 1500 rolls over the three days from its usual location, Site 251 on Fonterra Rd’
“If you’re keen to give one a try, the best times to visit us is at 10.30am, 12.30pm or 2.30pm each day,” she said.
Aside from the rolls, the council would have information and advice on various aspects of its work, including improving water quality, eradicating pests, controlling weeds, protecting kauri and funding for fencing.
Specialist council staff across a range of fields would be available to offer advice or chat about land and other issues people may have, and several councillors planned to be there.
“This year you’ll also find a number of community groups sharing our site space, including the Integrated Kaipara Harbour Management Group and Kiwi Coast,” she added.
“We’ll also have representatives from the Million Metres streams project, Nga¯ Uri o Hau Native Nursery, and MPI’s kauri dieback team attending.”
For more information about the council’s presence at the field days, including giveaways, go to www.Facebook.com/ NorthlandRegionalCouncil
Northland Regional Council biosecurity officer Warren Morunga with a wild pork roll similar to those the council plans to give away this week.