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Nga riwai: Maori potatoes.

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Title: Nga riwai: Maori potatoes.
Author: Harris, G. F.; Niha, P. P.
Abstract: It is generally accepted by scholars that potatoes were first introduced to New Zealand in the late eighteenth century by Captain James Cook and the French explorer, Marion du Fresne. Further introductions from a variety of sources, including possible direct introductions from South America, followed into the nineteenth century. Maori were quick to recognise the advantages these new introductions had over the kumara (Ipomea batatas) and other traditional food sources. Potatoes soon became both a staple item in the Maori diet and a trade commodity. The various cultivars (cultivated varieties) were given Maori names and many of these early introductions are still grown by Maori today. These 'Maori potatoes' with their deep-set eyes, often knobbly irregular shape and colourful tubers, are quite distinct from modern potatoes and are known as Maori as riwai, taewa, parareka and mahetau.
Date: 1999


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