Cultural food for baby

Many of us eat food that’s valued in our culture. The foods traditional to Māori, Pacific, Pākehā and other cultural groups are highly regarded and may have spiritual significance. From 6 months old your baby will be able to eat some of these foods. Māori kai and Pacific food can be great for babies and toddlers.

Māori traditional foods (Ngā kai ake a te Māori)


The kūmara is believed to offer spiritual sustenance not found in other foods. You can mash or purée it as a first food at around 6 months, or give it to older toddlers as a staple vegetable.

Kamokamo (marrow)

Mash or purée kamokamo as a first food, and cook it as a vegetable for older toddlers.

Pūhā (watercress)

At around 6 months, your baby is ready for puréed green leafy vegetables, such as pūhā and watercress. Leafy vegetables provide an excellent source of beta-carotene (provitamin A) and vitamin C. Take care to wash pūhā and watercress thoroughly before cooking.

Kai moana (seafood)

Traditional seafoods include kina (sea eggs), pipi, kōura (crayfish), pūpū (periwinkles), parengo (a type of seaweed), pāua and eels. Wait until your baby is 8–12 months old before giving them kai moana.

Take care to collect seafood only from safe and unpolluted areas—it’s really important to protect your baby from seafood that could be contaminated with marine biotoxin and food-poisoning bacteria.

Rēwena (bread)

Rēwena bread makes excellent toast fingers when your baby’s getting their teeth. Try offering it to your baby when they’re about 7–8 months old.


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