It's been labelled white gold and - for an all-too short annual season - trades on the open market with a speculative fever all of its own. Praised for its taste and spawning legions of fans, each with their own definitive means of preparation, it is considered a uniquely Kiwi delicacy - one of the few as yet unclaimed by Australia.
And for one great day in October, the peole of Canterbury and aficionados from around the country will have their chance to celebrate all things whitebait at the inaugural Great West Coast Whitebait Festival.
The Great West Coast Whitebait Festival is a celebration of the best of Kiwi hospitality - with a dash of Kiwi ingenuity thrown in - and a focus on our very favourite foods.
We're about bringing the flavours of our place - the Coast - over the hill to your place. It's groumet nosh-ups; it's classic Coast on a plate; it's more 'bait cooked up in more styles than you can poke a stick at.
We'll have the fiercely contested Great Bait Debate, we'll have Speakers Corner, Whitebaiter's Walk (which is our version of the story of whitebait as told with pictures), onsite auctions and so much more.
And because we believe in looking after our mates, if we do a good job of this Whitebait Fest then we're going to gift a few bucks back to a good cause - the rebuild of Christchurch.
We're all about celebrating that wriggly white gold us Coasters can't seem to catch enough of each spring with around 7,000 of our closest mate and we'd love you to join us.