In this extract from her book Kai, Christall Lowe brings food from her pātaka (storehouse) to your family table with recipes that celebrate the mauri of food.

This is a book about our way of cooking, eating and gathering – whether it be the gathering of kai, or the gathering of people. Our ‘life of kai’. Our life of kai is something innate, because it’s an extension of our very person – how we were raised, the concepts and ideologies that have been worked into our very core simply through nurturing. The way my nana did things was the way her nana did things. The respect that we have for food and the land comes not just from the knowledge of tapu and noa that has been imparted to us, but from the desire to be self-sufficient, to grow our own, to live gently off the land and all that it provides, from the mountains to the sea. Living off the land and sea while being responsible for it as kaitiaki, as guardians.

I’m not a chef – I’m a home cook who is obsessed with flavour and absolutely passionate about capturing the mauri of food. Mauri acknowledges that everything has a life essence, and when we take something from where it belongs, it is crucial that we add another dimension to its life force and enhance its value. When a vegetable is uprooted from the ground, an apple is picked from a tree or a snapper is caught on a hook, that is not the end of it. All the way from the source, through the process, the recipe – and in my case even the photography and the story – all of these factors combined create dishes that are full of life and soul. Kai becomes so much more than mere sustenance or even enjoyment. It becomes life.