Māori potatoes

Taewa (or rīwai) is a collective name for the varieties of potatoes (Solanum tuberosum) cultivated by Māori.

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

Karuparerā

Karuparera. Image courtesy of Nick Roskruge

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Karuparera. Image 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.

Huakaroro

Huakaroro. Image courtesy of Nick Roskruge

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Huakaroro. Image courtesy of Nick Roskruge

Cream-coloured skin and flesh, and a buttery taste. Good to boil, bake, and chip. A good keeper.

Raupī

Raupī. Image courtesy of Nick Roskruge

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Raupī. Image courtesy of Nick Roskruge

Round with yellow and purple speckled skin. Cream-coloured flesh and excellent texture. Good to bake, boil, or chip. A good keeper.

Moemoe

Moemoe. Image courtesy of Nick Roskruge

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Moemoe. Image courtesy of Nick Roskruge

Multi-coloured skin with cream-coloured, patterned flesh. Good to bake, chip, or boil. A good keeper.

Tutaekuri

Taewa (tutaekuri). Image courtesy of Nick Roskruge

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Taewa (tutaekuri). Image courtesy of Nick Roskruge

Long yam-like tuber with dark purple skin and purple flesh. Good to bake or chip, and boils quickly. Average keeper.