They’re getting the hangi of it

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A piece of crafty Kiwi ingenuity has got enterprising couple Daron Toeke and Andrea McIvor,
pictured with their two-year-old daughter Athena, around a new fire bylaw that looked like dousing their traditional Maori hangi business.

The pair were gutted when a Queenstown Lakes District Council safety ruling in September on open-air fires snuffed out their Unique Hangis in its fourth year.

They fired their operation back up after hitting on the simple idea of adding a three-sided tin garden shed with a chimney – bought from Mitre 10. The DIY device gets round the bylaw and they’ve been given the green light to operate again.

Hangi food is cooked using heated rocks in a covered pit one metre to 1.5m deep. “The regulations were that three sides and a chimney would contain the hangi pit fire, which is what the council was worried about,” says McIvor.

“The shed goes over the hangi pit when the fire is on to heat the stones and the door can be opened to feed the fire. We can close the door if we need to fully contain the fire.

“It was all Daron’s idea. It means we can now fulfil all our orders that we’d previously only pencilled in.”