When I had not lived in NZ for very long, one of my friends suggested that if I wanted to get tempted by the real NZ, we should go and visit her hometown, Whangarei. Whangarei did not have the reputation of the most exciting town at the time, but we followed her advice. Her true kiwi hospitality showed when she invited us over for a BBQ at her parents place. This wasn’t going to be a standard meat BBQ but a true Northland one. This meant seafood. And not the bought kind, but freshly caught and collected at the local beach. Oh yes the tempting started to work for me.
When we got to the parents place we were shown our next temptation. This consisted of the biggest crayfish I have ever seen in my life outside a zoo, and it was caught that morning. I couldn’t believe their hospitality of wanting to share such a special meal with us. This was not all though, we were still to collect the side dish, Tuatua’s. Not knowing what that meant, we went on a little tikitour down the coast to a wild white sand beach. This beautiful beach stretched for miles and miles and there was nobody but us. I was starting to like this New Zealand more and more. The tide was just right, in between low and high, the temperature tempting enough to be comfortable.
I was told to step in the water, wiggle my feet and collect the almost triangular shellfish which are lodged vertically in the sand. You grab one in each hand , smack them against each other and eat what is inside. Now for me having grown up near the always grey-looking Northsea, this is a truly mind-blowing idea. But what an idea it was. The flesh of the Tuatua’s is tender and almost sweet. I could not get enough of it. We filled our buckets , and drove back to have one special BBQ dinner.
Yes I was indeed tempted. Tempted by those lovely kiwi’s and the most amazing Tuatua’s.