Taewa (or rīwai) is a collective name for the varieties of potatoes (Solanum tuberosum) cultivated by Māori.
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.
Images courtesy of Nick Roskruge
Round, with dark purple skin and deep white eyes. The name likens these potatoes to the eyes of a duck. Good to boil, bake, or chip. A good keeper.
Cream-coloured skin and flesh, and a buttery taste. Good to boil, bake, and 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, chip, or boil. A good keeper.
Long yam-like tuber with dark purple skin and purple flesh. Good to bake or chip, and boils quickly. Average keeper.