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Taewa harvest underway

Taewa harvest underway

A hot summer and the ability to irrigate has led to a bumper crop of taewa this year, with students and friends working steadily in the late summer sun today to harvest the Maori potatoes.

Project leader Nick Roskruge, a researcher in indigenous horticulture, says there is a large crop of taewa. The taewa were grown in a different paddock from last year, and one which had limited irrigation, meaning the potatoes could both take well in the ground and increase in size.

About 18 varieties of taewa are grown at the Palmerston North campus, with the aim of the project to develop a seed-bank able to supply seed for community cropping. Some taewa will be distributed to local marae and the community, with any surplus in demand from many people who wished to buy the still-rare taewa.

Pickers today included students, collaborators and kaumatua, with a hangi laid down for an end-of-harvest celebration. Timing for the harvest is dictated by events including the rising of a new moon, with harvest usually completed within three days of a new moon, Mr Roskruge says.


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