Air New Zealand | A Taste of Aotearoa


A Taste of Aotearoa, a culinary journey where indigenous flavours meet contemporary cuisine

Aotearoa New Zealand is home to an abundance of fresh produce and a variety of indigenous ingredients and flavours, found nowhere else on Earth. ‘A Taste of Aotearoa’ is a menu concept launched in July 2023, sharing these indigenous flavours with the world through contemporary cuisine in our Air New Zealand Business Premier™ long haul menus.

Our Air New Zealand Culinary team create three new long haul menus per year, featuring a range of dishes inspired by provenance, freshness, seasonality, and an innovative expression of modern New Zealand cuisine. In the suite of bespoke meals that we design, we take care to include dishes which feature the indigenous ingredients of Aotearoa New Zealand to share with our customers, creating a unique inflight experience that can only be enjoyed onboard Air New Zealand, as we take these flavours to the world.

Since July 2023, our ‘A Taste of Aotearoa’ menu items have included:

  • Creamy kawakawa mushrooms on rye toast with sautéed spinach and grilled tomatoes
  • Mānuka-smoked rye sourdough
  • Superfood salad with horopito dusted Marlborough salmon
  • Ahia™ smoked moki on kawakawa blini
  • Grass fed New Zealand lamb rump with horopito rub
  • Whipped ricotta with thyme, mānuka-smoked olives, gremolata and snow pea shoots
  • Kūmara and kawakawa sourdough
  • New Zealand lamb cooked two ways with seared zucchini, mint salsa verde and warm new potato and pea salad with horopito butter

Going beyond an ingredient

Air New Zealand is mindful that sharing knowledge is an important responsibility in developing a deeper awareness of Aotearoa New Zealand and Māori custom, culture and identity. In creating ‘A Taste of Aotearoa’, it was important that the ingredient featured was more than a flavour in a dish, or a word on a menu’s page. We chose to share knowledge to give mana (status, authority, prestige) to the ingredient, raising awareness for local New Zealand and international customers alike. We print introductory text in the menu, with a bespoke icon depicting a stylised unfurling fern frond next to its featured dish, proudly identifying our ‘A Taste of Aotearoa’ menu items for our customers.

Featured ingredients

Since launching, we have introduced our customers to a number of indigenous ingredients and share the following knowledge in our menus. We take care to translate these descriptions into destination languages, to ensure this knowledge is accessible to a wider range of our customers.

Kawakawa, a New Zealand native plant, commonly found in the North Island and the top of the South Island, is used in traditional Māori cuisine. Its heart-shaped leaves can be brewed into tea or dried for a peppery taste. It also has anti-inflammatory properties for rongoā Māori healing.

Horopito, the New Zealand pepper tree, is a plant with red leaves commonly found in the country’s lush forests. It may be used as a natural preservative for food products and also has antiseptic properties. Horopito is a unique ingredient that is native to New Zealand and found in forests on the North Island and the top of the South Island.

Ahia™ smoked fish, meaning “fire of the chiefs”, is a proud partnership with the people of Ngati Porou, where we share sustainably sourced kaimoana from the coast of Aotearoa New Zealand. As kaitiaki/kaitieki (guardians) of their natural environment, the fish are carefully filleted, prepared and mānuka-smoked according to the traditions of the Ngati Porou people.

Mānuka flourishes across Aotearoa’s varied landscape. This unique flora infuses our wood-smoked ingredients and provides the nectar for our exquisite mānuka honey. The mānuka plant’s diverse advantages include traditional medicinal uses with its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and its assistance towards ecological regeneration. Experience the many holistic benefits derived from the extraordinary mānuka plant.

Air New Zealand is proud of where we come from, and a demonstrable expression of this is through the sharing of flavours and ingredients only found in our home, Aotearoa New Zealand. It is a privilege to share this experience through contemporary menus with our customers.

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Air New Zealand