New Zealand birds and how to eat them

I love New Zealand birds. 

There are many types and surely on that spectrum, some are going to be delicious. The most appetising is the kererū, however the following method works for kea, kākāpō, kiwi and all New Zealand birds.

How to eat kererū

  1. Track down a living kererū. The bush is a good place to start.
  2. Casually ask the kererū whether any of its relatives have died in the past 3 days. This is important. Kererū is better fresh – it doesn’t age well like tūī or one of the harder pigeons.
  3. Inform the kererū that you would like to eat their deceased relative. Expect scepticism. 
  4. If needed, bribe the kererū with a small Tupperware container of berries. 
  5. Once they accept, follow your new kererū friend through scrub to the site of their relative’s final resting place.
  6. Exchange a short nod with the kererū, then gently place the deceased into a hessian sack and into your backpack. This is both respectful and it protects the meat from bruising.
  7. Thank your kererū friend for its generosity as it flies off with your bribe. Shout after it, saying, “You can keep the container!”
  8. Return to your Airbnb and locate the barbecue. 
  9. Call the Department Of Conservation (D.O.C.) and tell them some maniac is barbequeing a kererū 100km from your current location. With that lot taken care of, turn on the gas.
  10. As the grill heats, fillet the kererū with the same love, patience, and attention to detail you would dedicate to a day of bird watching. If you have to, pound the fillets to an even 2-3cm thickness. Pat your tummy and whisper, “Not long now.”
  11. ​​Combine paprika, mustard, honey, tomato sauce, orange zest and a splash of olive oil in a shallow bowl. Add chilli to taste. Season with salt and pepper and mix well. Set aside a few tablespoons of the marinade for later.
  12. Add the fillets to the remaining marinade. Once lathered on all sides, cover with cling wrap and leave to sit for 5-10 minutes. 
  13. Set grill to screaming hot (200ºC). Use tongs to transfer the fillets onto the grill. Cook for about 5 minutes on each side, turning every minute and basting as you go. 
  14. Remove when golden and cooked through. 
  15. Arrange the kererū fillets on a native birds of New Zealand serving plate, spooning a little of the reserved sauce over each fillet.
  16. Serve with garden salad and berries from your backup berry Tupperware container.
  17. Enjoy! (alone)
  18. Return missed call from D.O.C.
  19. Unintentionally stay on the line, allowing D.O.C. to track you.
  20. Go to sleep. 
  21. Get woken up by two D.O.C. officers’ flashlights in your eyes as one screams “Got meat?” into your sleepy face.
  22. Feign ignorance.
  23. Lead D.O.C. officers to the barbeque.
  24. Invite them to take a seat.
  25. Serve leftovers.
  26. “Not bad,” they say.
  27. “I know,” you say.
  28. “Tastes like chicken,” they say.
  29. “I know,” you say.
  30. “You’re under arrest,” they say, producing handcuffs. “For medium-rare kererū.”
  31. Gasp when one of the D.O.C. officers takes off their human mask and IS the kererū from before.
  32. Serve out your 5 year prison sentence.
  33. Move to Australia.
  34. Try again with kookaburra.


Thanks to Hamish Bulsara, Christine Chow, Cynthia Gao, Sam Smith, Adam Walmsley and Emily Zhu for reading drafts of this.

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