Anchor Feeling of Home: Tapara Reid-Hiakita's kuia's creamy rice pudding

  • 11/11/2021
  • Sponsored by - Anchor
Tapara Reid-Hiakita's beloved kuia's rice pudding brings back vivid memories of her childhood.
Tapara Reid-Hiakita's beloved kuia's rice pudding brings back vivid memories of her childhood. Photo credit: Supplied

Kiwi bakers are getting the chance to share the flavours and memories of their family kitchens with the nation, and for Tapara Reid-Hiakita, it's her beloved kuia's creamy rice pudding that brings back vivid memories of her childhood. 

Reid-Hiakita is one of five winners of Anchor's Feeling of Home series, a competition which allows entrants to share the recipes and dishes that most connect them to a feeling of home. 

Mike Boness, Fonterra Marketing Director, said the competition is about championing the connection of food and family for Kiwis.

"Home is more than a physical place, it’s a feeling, and it connects us to what is the most important," he told Newshub. 

"We wanted to champion that feeling of home and celebrate these moments, big or small. "

He said a common theme that emerged across all entries was a connection to loved ones and family. 

"So many Kiwis said the feeling of home came from recipes that have memories connected to their whanau. It was really heartwarming to hear these stories," he said. 

Anchor is an iconic Kiwi brand that has been on kitchen benches and dining tables of our homes since 1886. "That's 135 years of family moments, celebrations and memories for New Zealanders old or new, whether it's Anchor Milk in your morning cuppa, Anchor Butter on scones or Anchor Cream on your pavlova at Christmas," he said. 

For Reid-Hiakita, the brand has played more of a role in her family life than just on the breakfast table. 

"In my early childhood both my parents worked at the Rangitaiki Plains Dairy Company, known as the RPD in Edgecumbe where I grew up. This then changed to Bay Milk Products in the 80s which dissolved in the 90s to become Anchor - and has now been Fonterra since 2001," she explained. Anchor is 100 percent New Zealand owned and operated.

"My mum made cheesecakes and my dad made butter!" she remembered, saying the memories brought "happy tears" to her eyes. 

But it was her kuia's recipe for rice pudding that truly connects Reid to her childhood, during long, hot summer holidays. 

"My kuia lived in Reporua, a very rural area - a few kilometres outside of Ruatorea," she said. 

As kids, school holidays saw Reid and her siblings "shipped off on the service car" to their grandmother. 

"Leaving a busy township to spend four hours on a hot and dusty bus to reach a very remote but stunningly beautiful destination down the east coast would make anyone hungry," she revealed.

"Our kuia lived on a farm and did not have electricity, so she relied on her woodstove or cooked outside on the open fire.

"She had what you would call a meat safe or cold store cupboard in her pantry to store milk, cream or butter."

She says those memories remind her "how lucky we are to have small luxuries in life like electricity, access to water and not take anything for granted". 

Reid-Hiakita's kuia would buy butter, milk and cream from a local trading store when collecting the children from the service car, and on arriving home, would use the ingredients to make her  "tasty, delicious rice pudding". 

"Living on a farm meant our kuia had fruit trees and chickens, so eggs were plenty and peaches were always guaranteed to be bottled and preserved," she said. 

"The luscious silky flavour of the milk, cream, butter and sugar folded through the hot rice, then cooling it slightly before our kuia would add the last ingredients - egg yolk and vanilla essence - always made our mouths water."

Reid-Hiakita says the pudding would "glisten" from "the amount of butter and cream used". 

"The aroma of the rice pudding would engulf the whole whare and this is how we knew we were home," she said. 

When it comes to toppings, she says it's important to use a tart fruit, like peaches or rhubarb, to cut through the rich creaminess of the rice pudding.

Reid-Hiakita still makes the rice pudding to this day, and while the method of making it has changed, the "ingredients like Anchor Milk have stayed the same through the years".

"I make this rice pudding because it was my mum's favourite dessert and it reminds her of her mum, my kuia. I make this rice pudding because it reminds me of them both," she says.  

"My mum passed away in 2011 but her sisters still live on our land there and one lives in our kuia's homestead. 

"It's absolutely beautiful." 

Rice Pudding with bottled peaches or stewed rhubarb


  • 30 grams of cold Anchor Butter 
  • 1 cup rice (short grain or arborio rice)
  • 1/2 cup of Anchor Cream 
  • 2 cups Anchor Milk 
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar 
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence 
  • 2 egg yolks


  1. Using a strainer, rinse your cup of rice under cold water. Boil 2 cups of water in a pot and then add the cup of rice. Cook or blanch for 2 to 3 minutes, then drain.
  2. In another pot, heat up the milk, cream, vanilla essence and sugar and heat until the sugar has dissolved.
  3. Take the blanched rice and place into the custard mixture and cook at a simmer for 35 minutes making sure to stir every 5 mins. Keep an eye on it while it's cooking.
  4. Once the mixture thickens and the rice looks lovely and creamy, take it off the heat and stir in the butter (to cool the mixture down slightly).
  5. Once the butter has melted and you've mixed it in thoroughly, add the egg yolks and again stir until your mixture is glossy and creamy and has changed to a pale yellow colour. Serve with bottled peaches or stewed rhubarb.

This article was created for Anchor.