Heritage Status: New Zealand
Bio-Region of Origin: Unknown
Quantity: 15 tupu
Description: An old one from the East Coast, orange coloured and very sweet to taste. A reliably good cropper. This one contains more water than most others and was traditionally used to make Kumara kao, a traditional or dried kumara. Kumara kao was made by cooking them in a special hangi built for the purpose including the leaves of papa and karamu, (to flavour and to blacken) and then the kumara were left in the hangi for two days and nights, before either eating or drying for storage. This was one of the traditional foods of the hunters and bush food gatherers. They were regarded as sweet treats by many.
To help you decide which varieties will be best for you.
This excerpt from the Koanga Garden Guide is filled with valuable information.
Planting Instructions: Kumara need light/ sandy soils (Maori carried sand long distances to improve heavy soils) with a hard pan about a foot under the surface. We plant our kumara in beds that are about 1 metre wide. We shape the bed so a mound runs length ways along it.
Kumara is sent out as tupu or small plants, not as tubers. We plant the kumara tupu in two rows one on each side of the mound at a spacing of about 12 inches along each row. We stagger them so that the tupu on one side are positioned opposite the middle of the space between two on the other side. Bend the roots of the tupu under into a J -shape when planting so the roots face up to the top again under the ridge of soil, facing east or, in some traditions, north. Traditional additions to the soil were baked ground shell, seaweed, and woodash. We also use compost and Nature’s Garden fertiliser.