The relationship of Maori to Kūmara or sweetpotato

Ethnobotany 1
Date and Time: 
Thursday, 17 March, 2016 - 11:00
, Nick - Massey University
Estrada de la Cerda
, Rodrigo - Massey University

Kūmara (Ipomoea batatas) and taewa, (Solanum tuberosum), are arguably the most important Māori traditional crops. Over centuries, Māori have developed an intimate relationship with them to ensure their survival.  This project looked at the diverse knowledge systems that exist relative to the relationship of Māori to these food crops. Information was gained from sources including Andean, Pacific and Māori traditional knowledge, scientific publications, and literature in Spanish and English.   Key factors which clearly define the Māori relationship to these foods include: the conduit provided in determining and continuing a relationship between South Pacific cultures and the South American continent;  the perceived importance of these crops as witnessed at the time of European contact, including Spanish and Portuguese in the wider Pacific region, and subsequently the British, French, and other peoples, and; the extended value of these crops to the endurance of Māori  culture (physically, socially and spiritually).  Both crops retain a contemporary importance to Māori society.