The FishWife

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Friday10:00 am – 5:00 pm.

Saturday10:00 am – 5:00 pm.

Sunday9:00 am – 5:00 pm.

145 Haven Street, Moeraki

027 201 5171

Moeraki certainly feels far away with its classic bachs and sparkly blue waterfront dotted with small watercraft and commercial fishing vessels. Just five minutes’ drive from Highway 1, the FishWife is the perfect spot to stop and rest for the day — which is what the name ‘Moeraki’ actually means.

Head towards the wharf, it’s not hard to find as Moeraki isn’t a very big place, to catch some rays, sit by the ocean and discover what very well may be the best fish and chip shop in Aotearoa New Zealand. The FishWife, owned and operated by locals John and Nicky, celebrates simple kai moana and sea to shore goodness– freshly caught crayfish and blue cod are the menu’s stars. 

The FishWife opens on Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays. When its owners aren’t running the show, they’re still pretty busy. Nicky supports local families through full-time social work, and John fishes five days a week, pulling up some of the most beautiful crays we’ve ever seen. He’s a fourth generation Moeraki fisherman and knows this place, these waters and their marine ecosystems like the back of his own hand. 

Crayfish at The FishWife are caught and prepared in nearly the same spot. Once John comes in for the day with these spiny treasures, they’re split down the centre, pan fried with garlic to achieve a bit of crispy, caramelized texture and then served with lemon and a big scoop of chips. Grab yours from the window and tuck in. Because these crays are so fresh, they don’t need much help to truly wow when it comes to flavour. This is simple, eat with your hands kind of kai.

Fish and chips here are also done beautifully without reinventing the wheel but by simply letting the sea’s flavours speak for themselves. Flaky blue cod from Moeraki’s shores are battered and fried until golden brown for melt-in-your-mouth crunch. One secret John uses to get this Kiwi classic just right is to ensure that the fish never touches fresh water before being served. The team uses seawater to clean the cod and lock in all of the salty, briny notes that make this dish what it is.

Plan ahead so you can visit The FishWife at least once, if not twice, on your journey through the Waitaki. The pāua patty is also a treat and if you simply can’t get enough, enquire about John’s fishing charters.

Words by Olivia Sisson & Photography by Nancy Zhou

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145 Haven Street, Moeraki

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