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Me mahi hāngī tātau: Teachers' notes

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Welcome to the teachers' notes for the 'Me mahi hāngī tātau' interactive on Te Kete Ipurangi. Hāngī is a method of cooking food under the ground using red hot rocks and steam. It is a method of cooking that has been used by Māori for hundreds of years. These notes aim to provide you with ideas and support to implement the 'Me mahi hāngī tātau' interactive into a wider classroom programme about hāngī.

There are also extensive opportunities to incorporate this resource into other wider classroom programmes related to other themes including food preparation, materials and their uses, and tikanga Māori associated with food.

The 'Me mahi hāngī tātau' interactive enables students to explore and experience this method of cooking in a way that would be difficult to replicate in the real world.

In this interactive students investigate:

  • the properties of rocks, fuel and food
  • the impact these fuels have on methods of constructing an earth oven successfully.

How to use these notes

The 'Me mahi hāngī tātau' interactive has been developed for incorporation into a wider classroom programme about hāngī. These notes provide:

  • links to the curriculum
  • new words
  • learning experiences
  • assessment examples and indicators
  • links to other resources about hāngī.

You may find it helpful to have read some of the background information from the links provided in these notes before introducing the topic of hāngī to your students.

Find out what your students already know about hāngī and other methods of cooking food underground. You could begin by asking your students how many of them have eaten hāngī, where, and for what occasion. Some of them may have helped in the preparation of a hāngī.


  • the important Māori cultural beliefs and practices that are associated with food and hāngī
  • the importance of the sequence of events in the preparation of a hāngī
  • the way that everyone joins in to help with the preparations.

Further discussion could include:

  • the types of food that are cooked in hāngī
  • the materials needed
  • the kind of preparation required
  • the types of occasions nowdays where hāngī are prepared.

You could use a think, pair and share technique for this discussion.

You could share some pictorial resources of hāngī being made, to introduce the topic and to encourage discussion. There is a great photograph of a hāngī being put into the ground on the NZHistory.net.nz website. This picture could be used to facilitate discussion around the topic.

Once students have been introduced to the topic, you could implement the 'Me mahi hāngī tātau' interactive into the programme

Provide support for any of the new words that may be unfamiliar to students by writing them on the whiteboard and including them in discussions with your students. A list of new words is provided in these notes.

Achievement objectives

Strand: Material World Level: 3
Students will:
Properties and changes of matter

  • Group materials in different ways, based on the observations and measurements of the characteristic chemical and physical properties of a range of different materials.
  • Compare chemical and physical changes.

The New Zealand Curriculum: Science

New words

Below are some of the words that your students will meet while using the interactive and engaging in the proposed activities.


Sedimentary rock rock that is made up of particles or grains that get bound together with some type of material
Volcanic rock rock that is produced by a volcano
Mānuka a shrub or small tree that is native to New Zealand
Ka pai? Is that right?

Learning experiences

Students could:

  • consult a kaumātua regarding the best sort of heating material to use in a hāngī and where these materials can be sourced
  • make a poster to show the different stages of the hāngī cooking process
  • investigate other cooking methods that are used in other cultures

Other learning experiences

  • Work out how much food would be needed and how much money it would cost to put down a hāngī to feed everyone in the school.
  • Investigate tikanga associated with eating on a marae.
  • Read and discuss the journal story Hāngī by T. Puharich, 1996, Learning Media Wellington.
  • Prepare an open-air shared class or school feast with foods that have been prepared using different cooking methods from different cultures.

Assessment examples

Teachers and students could assess the students' understanding of:

  • the physical properties of different materials when they can explain why volcanic rock is used in hāngī instead of sedimentary rock
  • temporary and more permanent changes that materials undergo, when the students record their before and after ideas on the effect that heat has on materials used in a hāngī.

Suggested assessment indicators

  • Students will be achieving at level 3 when they can ask questions of themselves, their group and resource people and identify questions suitable for scientific investigation.

This relates to achievement objective: group materials in different ways, based on the observations and measurements of the characteristic chemical and physical properties of a range of different materials.

  • Students will be achieving at level 3 when they present what they did and what they found out in their investigations in ways and forms appropriate to their peer group.

This relates to achievement objective: compare chemical and physical changes.

Related links

General information about hāngī




Images of hāngī


Instructions on how to prepare a hāngī


Methods of cooking from around the world