Before European settlement, taewa was a staple food crop for Māori. By the 1800s, it had also become an important commercial crop, playing a key role in the introduction of Māori to European economics.
Māori acknowledge that some potato varieties arrived with early explorers, sealers, and whalers during the 18th century. They also have traditions that relate the existence of taewa well before this period. In recent times, some varieties of taewa have been lost, but due to research and indigenous gardening projects, a few varieties have survived.
Round, with dark purple skin and deep white eyes. The name likens these rīwai to the eyes of a duck. Good to bake, boil, or chip. A good keeper.
Cream-coloured skin and flesh, and a buttery taste. Good to bake, boil, or chip. A good keeper.
Round with yellow and purple speckled skin. Cream-coloured flesh and excellent texture. Good to bake, boil, or chip. A good keeper.
Multi-coloured skin with cream-coloured, patterned flesh. Good to bake, boil, or chip. A good keeper.
Long yam-like tuber with dark purple skin and purple flesh. Good to bake, boil, or chip. Average keeper.