May 9, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Taranaki authors book on Maori potato a first

2 min read
taewa-cover.jpgA book about the pests and diseases of Maori potatoes (taewa) written by three authors from Taranaki will be launched at the Maori vegetables collective annual meeting today at Owae Marae in Waitara.

Nga Porerarea me nga Matemate o nga Mara Taewa: Pests and Diseases of Taewa (Maori Potato) Crops was written by the Universitys Institute of Natural Resources staff member Dr Nick Roskruge along with postgraduate students Aleise Puketapu and Turi McFarlane (all of Te Atiawa descent) and is the first book to focus solely on taewa.

Dr Roskruge received his PhD in Soil Science in 2008 and has conducted extensive research into traditional Maori crops. He is recognised internationally for his expertise in taewa. For the past six years he has been chairman of the Maori growers collective. There is a burgeoning interest in taewa and the book is an important reference tool for growers and students, he says.

The 72-page book has thick pages to enable growers to take the book into the field to identify pests and diseases using the full-page colour photographs for easy diagnosis. A glossary of scientific and Maori terms are included along with a Maori fishing and planting calendar.

Aspects of research being undertaken by Ms Puketapu into the lifecycle and epidemiology of the potato psyllid are covered in the book, as is research gathered during taewa crop trials at Massey by Mr McFarlane.

Dr Roskruge says the main issue affecting taewa is the potato psyllid. It is an insect that can reduce taewa yields by up to 80 per cent, but there are other diseases that can be equally damaging.

Dr Roskruge and his co-authors are looking at publishing more books on Maori horticulture. We hope to be able to produce a set of books, the next one will look at green vegetables such as puha, watercress and kokihi [native spinach].

3 thoughts on “Taranaki authors book on Maori potato a first

  1. Hi
    Im from Feilding,I dont know if the message left the computer or not.Last year I grew a few Maori Potatoes for the local farmers market and would like to find out obout different varities etc.What I would like to do is to know where I could buy the book on Maori Potatoes from and the best varities to plant. the book was put out by Nick Roskruge.

    Thanks Wilfred.

  2. As I am interested in growing and trying different varities of vegetables ,I am wondering where I can buy the book that Nick Roskruge has put out and the best varities on Maori Potatoes. I did grow 2 different varities last year with i think good sucsess.I would be very greatfull if you could help me please.

    Thanks Wilfred.

  3. Dr Nick Roskruge is one of our great unsung Maori heros! Not only has he worked extensively and for years on the revival, maintenance and tranmission of tikanga and matauranga to do with our maara kai, he has also supported scores of Maori students throughout their studies and personally fostered their achievement, whether they were in horticulture/agriculture studies or not! The many pictures of Maori graduates he keeps on his office wall are testament to his commitment and contribution to Maori development, in his field and society as a whole. Ki a koe e te tohunga no roto o Ngati Rahiri, nei ra te mihi!

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