Pots and the food inside them are being taken from communal hangi pits at steam vents in Whakarewarewa Village at Rotorua.
The thefts have been happening for the past three years or so, with thieves also taking kai cooking in muslin cloth.
Residents say the problem has become worse over the past six months.
Christina Gardiner says it is worse than shoplifting.
She says that if the offenders want food they should cook it themselves.
Ms Gardiner says local people don't think tourists are to blame.
She says tour guides are keeping watch on the hangi pits, to try and stop pots full of kai being stolen.