Story: Daily life in Māori communities – te noho a te hapori

Preparing and eating fern root, around 1828

This painting by Augustus Earle shows a village in either the Hokianga or Bay of Islands around 1828. Around each of the three cooking fires a group is crushing aruhe (fern root) with mallets, and chewing the roasted roots. Fern root was not very nutritious and it required lengthy preparation to make it palatable, but it was widely available throughout the year. Cooking scenes such as this would have been repeated throughout the country every evening. 

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: PUBL-0015-03
Hand-coloured lithograph by Augustus Earle

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Mark Derby, 'Daily life in Māori communities – te noho a te hapori - Daily life in traditional communities', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/zoomify/40896/preparing-and-eating-fern-root-around-1828 (accessed 24 August 2019)

Story by Mark Derby, published 5 Sep 2013