Story: Collections of plants and animals

Taewa (Māori potatoes)

Taewa (Māori potatoes)

Māori have grown potatoes for at least 200 years, and ‘taewa’ refers collectively to a number of traditional varieties. Nick Roskruge (kaitautoko at the Institute of Natural Resources, Massey University), shown at right, has been collecting taewa since 1997. He now has over 30 different types, and aims to build a seed bank to protect them, while researching their potential as a commercial crop.

Potatoes originated in the Americas, and were taken to Europe in the late 14th and early 15th centuries. Captain James Cook brought the first potatoes to New Zealand on his three visits between 1769 and 1777, and Māori adopted them enthusiastically as a food source.

Using this item

Massey News

This item has been provided for private study purposes (such as school projects, family and local history research) and any published reproduction (print or electronic) may infringe copyright law. It is the responsibility of the user of any material to obtain clearance from the copyright holder.

All images & media in this story

How to cite this page:

Simon Nathan, 'Collections of plants and animals - Collections in New Zealand', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 3 December 2021)

Story by Simon Nathan, published 24 Sep 2007