Royalty's First Hangi
What may easily be Royalty's first hangi was prepared for the Duke of Edinburgh during his visit to the Chatham Islands last December.
This luncheon was served during the Duke's visit to the Waitangi race course. His Royal Highness was sitting in a marquee in the middle of the paddock. The whole event was run entirely after the pattern of a typical Chatham's race meeting.
A great moment during the luncheon was when a few children, mainly Maori, whose curiosity knew no bounds approached the table at which the Duke was sitting.
The Duke held out a plate of cakes and smiled encouragingly. One child sidled up tentatively, was obviously tempted, and suddenly took a cake. Soon the Duke and his private secretary, Lieut-Commander Parker, were surrounded and kept busy dispensing cakes and oranges, and offering large jars of milk to any who wanted a drink.
It was a supreme moment for the children and the Royal visitor's enjoyment of the situation was tremendous. He talked to the young islanders, won their complete confidence with case, and eventually had them removing the used dishes from the tables.
Before going to lunch the Duke stopped at the site of the large hangi, whose fires had been alight since 4 a.m. and food cooking since 10 a.m. The food was cooked by Jack Kamo, the island's expert on cooking by hangi methods.
After lunch the Duke told Kamo it was marvellous how well the food was cooked. He discussed the whole affair again with Kamo, who had been up all night. Kamo was dressed in a thick blue neck-high jersey, working trousers, gumboots and old motor-cyclist's leather helmet. His face was covered with a white stubble.
Among the people Prince Philip met, were several members of the county council, a representative of the Moriori race, Mr T. T. Solomon, whose famous 32-stone father was the last full-blooded member of that race; a descendant of the first Maori people to reach the Chathams, Mr J. Pomare, and a descendant of the first European to settle on Pitt Island, Mr Gregory Hunt, members of whose family now farm the whole island.