It is no surprise Maketu produced the latest MasterChef winners, the town has food in its bones. Maketu was named after the origonal kumara growing fields in Hawaiki by Te Arawa when their canoe landed at the mouth of the Kaituna River in 1340. The river and estuary have been historically referred to as the "food bowl" of the Te Arawa. 400 years later the Robin White painting Fish and Chips, Maketu immortalised the local fish and chip shop. Not sure why the shop has not been given the Robin White treatment.
Maketu Pies carry on the food vibe. They distribute pies all over the North Island and have recently introduced a gourmet range called Sunday's Best. Their standard range is well regarded and includes a highly rated mussel pie.
Historically the estuary provided a diverse range of seafood including pipi, koterotero (sea-anenome), tuangi (cockles), flounder, titiko (mud snail), mussels, pāua, pūpū, scallops, kukuroa (horse mussels) and fish. It seems appropriate the winners of MasterChef Karena and Kasey Bird are described as "seafood loving sisters" and their signature dish is paua ravioli.