Kūmara: Nature's Life Coach

Jan. 11, 2019, 6 a.m.

 In the rohe of Ngāi Takoto, whānau are keen to hold on to the knowledge and practice of gardening, not only as a way of increasing whānau sustainability and food security, but also as a feature of survival in the modern world, that is facing the impacts of climate change.

The Jones family from Maimaru in Awanui, Te Hiku, have been working the whenua for many generations. The work of planting and harvesting kūmara has always been a whānau activity allowing them to work and learn together across generations.

Growing kai has been guided by the maramataka, lunar phases, however, work still needed to be completed and food security was important. Like the advice of the kaumātua, it was guide to provide direction and still required problem solving on the part of those working in the garden.

The kūmara has flourished in Aotearoa soil and especially in the climate of the Far North. Early Māori gardens and kūmara storage pits have left their mark on the landscape with Māori have grown gardens with great horticultural skill.

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