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‘Maara kai’: Re-invigorating Māori Food Sovereignty through potatoes

Māori have lived in New Zealand for around 700 years and were accomplished horticulturalists, bringing seed and tubers from their original homes in other Eastern Pacific Islands.

They established ‘maara’ (gardens) in their new home Aotearoa/New Zealand, using sustainable methods, working with the land and climate. They also established trade with neighbouring Australia before colonisation changed the landscape of their home in the 1800s.

As other settler groups came and Māori lost their land, they unfortunately also lost sovereignty over their food.

Gemma Carroll from Potatoes New Zealand connected with Manaia Cunningham who has returned to his ‘marae’ (family home) to re-establish a heritage potato garden.

There are 2000 years of horticultural knowledge relatively untapped in ‘matauranga Māori’ (indigenous knowledge).

Perhaps in these uncertain times, a return to indigenous wisdom will see us through challenging climates, Gemma writes.

Read this most interesting story on the Potatoes NZ website here.
Gemma Carroll can be reached at [email protected]

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