Dec. 7, 2017, 9:08 a.m.
Kumara is a root vegetable most commonly grown in Te Taitokerau and in particular, Te Hiku o Te Ika. The kumara arrived in Aotearoa with our tūpuna from the Pacific Islands, they were widely grown in the warm regions of the Far North which is the most suitable climate. Early Māori gardens and kumara storage pits can still be seen today. Māori have grown gardens with great horticultural skill, making use of ideal growing climates and planting according to traditional moon phase knowledge which is commonly referred to today as the maramataka Māori. Our whanau have been growing kumara in Maimaru for many generations.
Kumara is one of the highest carbohydrate containing vegetables and an excellent source of energy. It has virtually no fat, its a source of vitamin C, and contains a significant dietary amount of potassium. It helps convert food into fuel.
Growing kumara is guided by the Maramataka Māori, otherwise known as the Māori Moon calendar. In the rohe of Ngai Takoto, whānau are keen to hold on to the knowledge and practice of Māori gardening, not only as a way of increasing whānau sustainability and food security, but also as a feature of survival in the modern world, staring into the face of climate change.