I grew up on a dairy farm near the city of Whangarei, in the north of New Zealand. I’m one of 10 children, and my mum was also one of 10, so there were always lots of mouths to feed.
Suzy Manihera

5 Jul 2013 - 12:25 PM  UPDATED 6 Sep 2013 - 9:31 AM

As a family, we’d be up at five in the morning, milking the cows and cooking. I was always helping in the kitchen. My mother and aunty never used recipes, and I learned to cook just by watching them. That’s how I learned to make rewena paraoa.

We’d feed the potato ‘bug’ (starter) flour and sugar in the evenings, then use some as the starter for the bread in the morning. Over time, I’ve instinctively come to know if it needs a bit more of this or a bit more of that. We would eat this bread with jam and cream on the school bus – that was our breakfast. It still is!

I came to Melbourne with my husband Len, our daughter Sanchia and our son Deon in 1989. I still feed the starter every day, but I only make this bread about once a week now. Even today, it brings up happy memories and takes me right back to the farm.


Interview by Vanessa Murray. Photography by Julian Kingma.


Maori potato bread