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Q + A: Butchery Workshop with Taiamai Corker

Kay caught up with Taiamai ahead of the Butchery Workshop that he will be delivering at Koanga, to get an idea of what participants can expect from the course:

Q: Taiamai where did you learn to kill and butcher your own meat

A: The first thing that came to mind was a photo of Dad and I and  my dog Spot, with Dad in his green overalls i think and  two goats with no heads under the totara tree at home next to the outside bath, and then the next  thought that came to mind was the photo of me trying to fillet the mullet in my home made wool top ( I was 3) , pretty funny….

I have picked up bits and pieces over the years starting from catching fish and learning how to fillet them with my parents to then learning to raise, kill and process chickens and ducks also with mum and dad…. and then around age 4-6    learning to hunt goats  first with my father and my dog, and then with my brothers, always with the idea from the start of going out to get some food for the family weather it was goats, eels, fresh water crayfish, rabbits and turkeys and at times some of these were also pests in the garden,
Q: This is the 5th time you have taught the butchering workshop for Koanga.. they have always been full and very successful.. your students rave about the workshop afterwards…..what inspires you to teach this workshop to others

A: I enjoy showing people how they can work with meat to get a home grown animal processed into many things that they themselves can enjoy, for it’s about knowing your animals and enjoying them while they are alive and looking after them as best you can, and when you are ready, being able to kill the animal in the best way you can. and then really being able to  enjoy making something from the animal and respecting the animal from paddock to plate…. using all the bits…. I take great pride and enjoyment in helping people to learn these skills

Q: You are currently in Germany learning traditional butchering skills from a traditional butcher.. what exciting things can we expect to be hearing about in your workshop this September

A: Germany well it’s all about pork, pork pork pork pork pork. I think a blood sausage or German black pudding will be on the cards, as with everything i have seen so far there is no grain and no fillers in these traditional German products, also i think a ‘skin off’ dry cured ham from the rump of the pig, so nice and small and easy to get through but also eaten raw, not cooked and only taking a few weeks from start to finish,  we will also talk about liver sausage and the bratwurst, two exceptional products and all of this with not wheat flour or rice flour.

Q: Can we have some weekly feed back while you are in Germany , we’d love to hear more about the things you are learning

A: In the first week it’s all been about watching… well it will be the whole time, and also finding a way to communicate as I work with three guys, one speaks no English, one speaks a little and one had great English but he goes on holiday at the end of next week so that will be interesting. The machinery they use is crazy ( $75,000 sausage filler )  and the list of gear I have never seen goes on, from skinning every pig they buy and also using the skin to make other products and a huge list of cooked luncheon sausages that even have cubed ham in them or whole eggs, it look pretty fancy when sliced on the sandwich, also the butchery building is over 300 years old with an awesome selection of cured meats hanging in the attic.

You can sign up for Taiamai’s Butchery course at Koanga here!

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