31 Oct 2018

Royal visit: Meghan Markle gets a lesson in Māori dessert

6:55 pm on 31 October 2018

Meghan Markle used a bit of elbow grease in the kitchen today during her visit to Te Papaiouru Marae in Rotorua.

Riini Mitchell, the head kaimahi at Te Papaiouru Marae.

Riini Mitchell, the head kaimahi at Te Papaiouru Marae. Photo: RNZ / John Boynton

The head kaimahi at Te Papaiouru Marae Riini "Buncie" Mitchell gave the royal couple a quick lesson in how to make steamed pudding.

Steamed pudding is the rather traditional kiwi dessert which is often cooked in hāngi or traditional Māori underground oven.

Meghan Markle had a quick 10-minute cooking lesson in the Kitchen and Ms Mitchell said she didn't even have time to put on an apron.

Ms Mitchell said the kaimahi or helpers in the kitchen started to become apprehensive after a powerful powhiri for the royal couple.

Her son Ricky brought the Duke and Duchess of Sussex through to the back of the kitchen to meet the workers.

"We said kia ora and bowed to her and he (Harry) turned and gave me a hongi," Ms Mitchell said.

She explained to the royal pair the art of making steamed pudding.

"I'd already made one and it was steaming in the hāngi - I had all the ingredients there for her - and I said you just put everything into the flour

"I thought 'oh heck I'm going to run out of milk' - but you can always add milk."

She then showed Meghan the finished product - which she was impressed with.

Ms Mitchell could sense the Duchess was tired as she came to the end of her royal tour.

"To absorb all of this is quite daunting I say for them - because the time frame is so limited for them."

Prince Harry was also delightful, Ms Mitchell said.

"When he left he said thank you so much and he gave me a hongi - another hongi."

They royal glamour couple also used the toilets that were used by the workers at the back of the kitchen.

"We had the toilets done up there (at the front of kitchen)," Ms Mitchell said.

"I'm going (put up a sign) to say the Duke and Duchess of Sussex used these toilets."

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