The Cook Strait region of central New Zealand has generally been considered climatically marginal for pre-European Maori horticulture. Experimental cultivation of three pre-European cultivars of kumara ('Taputini', 'Rekamaroa' and 'Hutihiti') has shown that it is possible to grow these varieties under present climatic conditions, even though the soil fertility in the experimental gardens is far from ideal for kumara. Tuber losses during storage between harvest and planting are significant, suggesting that kumara could not be kept as a significant source of carbohydrate beyond the next planting season. One cultivar, 'Taputini', performed extremely well during the drought in the region in 2000-2001. The existence of such a drought-resistant variety has important implications for dicussions of dry-land horticulture in tropical Polynesia as well as New Zealand.
Burtenshaw, M. K., Harris, G. F., Davidson, J., & Leach, F. (2003). Experimental growing of pre-European cultivators of kumara (sweet potato, Ipomoea Batatas [L.] Lam) at the southern margins of Maori horticulture. New Zealand Journal of Archaeology, 23(2001), 161-188.