The whakapapa

of the kūmara

Te kūmaranui ā-tonga literally means the great kūmara of the south, and is a whakataukī (proverb) from north Taranaki in reference to their ability to produce a kūmara crop of considerable note.

Read this story in te reo Māori and English here. / Pānuitia tēnei i te reo Māori me te reo Pākehā ki konei.

But what do we know of the kūmara (Ipomoea batatas) other than the familiar stories of traditional foods and trading?

Kūmara has its botanical origins in the Andean region of South America; the highlands of the continent including Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. The route taken from there to the Polynesian islands is not definitive, in either tradition or science, but the relationship of the plant to Polynesia is beyond question and spans centuries and many migrations.

Link to video and article: The whakapapa of the kūmara | Stuff.co.nz


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