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A Greek culinary odyssey to New Zealand: The furthest shore


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New Zealand is perhaps the furthest shore that the influence of Greek cuisine has reached. Although visited and settled by Greeks in its earliest period of European settlement, in the Nineteenth Century, New Zealand received Greek immigrants in their largest numbers in the middle of the Twentieth Century in the general diasporas of Greeks before and after war. Chain migration, by which people from the same families or township follow other neighbours and relatives to another destination, has been a significant pattern, and, from early census documents, it is even possible to identify the original sources of the earliest Greek migrants as being the islands of Ithaca, Cephalonia and Lesbos, and the occupations of these people as being sea farers or fishermen (From Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand).

The majority of later Greek immigrants settled in Wellington, the capital and then the most cosmopolitan of the small nation’s cities. A major place of employment for those who made it to this shore was in the food and hospitality industry. Again Wellington, with its many rocky headlands, small pebbled beaches and well-established fishing fleets was an appealing location. With the dominant culture and therefore the food culture being British, many adjusted to the simpler culinary demands of the populace by establishing fish and chip shops. Most traditional Greek necessities were unknown, for example, olive oil could only be purchased in pharmacies, as could rose water and orange flower water, but gradually these shops provided a locality for importing traditional Greek delicacies and staples, at first to fellow immigrants, but eventually to an expanding clientele.

This paper will discuss how, as Greek families were becoming settled and assimilated into work places, suburbs and civic communities, their culinary influence was creating a distinct contribution to the bland tastes of post-colonial New Zealand kitchens.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: greece, Food, New Zealand diaspora
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Divisions: Schools > School of Media Arts
Depositing User: Gail Pittaway
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2013 04:19
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2023 03:16

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