Māori have grown potatoes for hundreds of years, and taewa refers collectively to some traditional varieties, including Karuparerā, Huakaroro, Raupī, Moemoe, and Tūtae-kurī.
We have six varieties of taewa. We recommend having at least five varieties of staple kai for diversity and resilience.
These are smaller, knobblier, and more colourful than modern potato varieties, which are referred to by the loanword pārete. Other collective names for traditional Māori potatoes are rīwai, parareka and mahetau.
Taewa takes at least 3 months from planting to an early harvest. Plants left longer (4-5 months) will size up more and also have better skins for handling and storage.
Early harvested Taewa needs to be consumed relatively quickly. You can plant the seed tuber therefore from August onwards providing you place the emerging plant away from any frosts which will kill it.
Did you know Taewa has self-selected over generations, making them hardy and disease resistant? However, they produce fewer tubers than modern potatoes, so they’ve never been grown in the large amounts needed to supply supermarkets, whereas modern potatoes have been bred specifically for their high yield. We believe taewa are worth the effort and have a goal to grow as much as we can!
Taewa are very easy to prepare yet very delicious! Just boil and steam well to have a sweet, nutty flavor and smooth texture. Also, the skin is very tender so peeling is unnecessary. A very simple & hearty snack you can eat in this cold weather.
Taewa are one of our most prized kai that we grow. It's such a privilege to work with such tasty nutritious heritage food. We learn more every season. And we love to inspire others to grow. Today we pulled up kowiniwini from an old seed bed (2 years old and five harvests in total!). As soon as the beds dry up a bit we will be planting for summer harvest. We look forward to sharing our journey with you all!