This cross-section drawing shows the careful layering of food and cooking materials that produces a successful hāngī. . First a pit is dug in the earth and a hot woodfire is lit in the bottom with rocks on top. Once the wood has burned out the embers are removed and baskets of meat, followed by vegetables, are placed on top of the hot rocks. The food is covered with damp cloths or leaves. Plenty of water is thrown on top to create steam, and the pit is quickly covered with earth to hold in the steam for several hours of slow cooking. This is an efficient way to prepare large quantities of meat, fish and vegetables, and it remains a favourite cooking technique for marae, institutions and households, especially on special occasions.
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Source: Wena Harawira, Hangi. Auckland: Reed Books, 1997