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No. 25 (December 1958)
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These notes on the growing of kumara were written by pupils of Tikitiki Maori District High School, in English and Maori, under the supervision of Mr Koro Dewes.

THE GROWING OF KUMARA

HE KORERO MO TE MAHI
PAREKEREKE

Ko nga marama mahi parekereke, whakaika ranei, ko Hune, ko Hurae a ko Akuhata hoki. Wehea tonutia ai nga mea mo te parekereke mo tetahi tau mai ka mutu ka whakatakototia ka wehengia nga kumara ahua roroa tonu kia tere ai te kapi o te whakaika. Ko nga kumara e whakaikatia ana i mua he “waina”, he “makakauri”.

Ka mahi i te whakaika ki nga wahi tainanga, harapaki ranei, ki te wahi e whititia ana e te ra, ki nga wahi mahana, ki nga wahi e kore e pangia ana e te hautonga. Mo te whakaika me kari he rua, kia tahi putu te hohonu, e wha putu te whanui, a, kia wha iari te roroa. Otira, kei te tangata tonu te tikanga mo te rahi o te whakaika. I muri iho ka whakatakototia te oneone ki nga taha ka ruia a waenganui ki te kirikiri.

Ko te kumara he upoko tona me te waero. Ko te upoko ki runga ko te waero ki raro. Pera katoa te whakatakoto i nga kumara a ki noa te whakaika. I muri mai, ka hoatu he kirikiri ki runga, kaua e tino nui rawa. Kia puta mai nga tipu ka tapuke ano kia matatoru, kia wha inihi pea te hohonu. Mo [ unclear: ] onei hoki ka raroa nga tipu mo te ono. Ka taha e mea wiki ka whawha ano i nga tipu kei te tangata tona hiahia.

Me taringiringi ki te wai kia tere ai te hana atu o nga tipu. Mea ai he pupu manuka ara he taiapa pahaohao, hei arai i te hau kei mate nga tipu.

 

KUMARA SEEDBED

The months during which the kumara seedbed is prepared are June, July and August. These Kumara for the seedbed are those that have been kept aside from the previous year in a soil clamp. In selecting kumara, those that are long are best, so that they fill the seedbed quickly. There are two good varieties, the “waina” and “makakauri.”

The site for the seedbed should be on a slope, an upraised warm place facing the east and in a spot where the southerly wind can do no harm. A pit is dug about one foot deep, four feet wide and three yards long. However, the size depends on each person's requirements. After the turf has been placed at the sides the sand is placed in the pit.

The kumara tuber has a top and a tail. The top is placed facing upwards and the tail downwards until the seedbed is completely covered. On top of them is placed a thin layer of sand. When all the kumara plants begin to shoot about four inches of sand is applied if long plants are required. After so many weeks the plants may be inspected by hand. Sprinkling with water helps to hasten the growth of the shoots. Some use manuka brush fences as shelter against winds which may injure the plants.

 
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TE KORERO MO TE ONO KUMARA —TE HUHUTI TIPU:

Ko te mea tuatahi hei mahitanga kia tika te mahinga, ko nga tipu. Ka huhutingia nga tipu ki waho o te whakaika. Kia nui nga tipu ka here-here kia noho ki ro kakati, kia kotahi rau pea ki ro kakati. He mahi roa te mahi huti tipu mehemea he kaita te mara.

Ka tae ki nga mano e hiahia ana te tangata, ka puru ki ro wai tu ai. Mea ai etahi i nga weu ki ro paru. He pai tenei, no te mea kaore e pirau nga weu, a ka noho makuku tonu. Ko nga tipu nui atu nga weu kei runga nga tino tipu.

Hoatungia ai te hutinga tuatahi ma te tangata ke, no te mea kaore ano kia nui nga weu, kaore ano kia pakari nga tipu. Kei nga hutinga o muri mai nga tino tipu.

NGA MARAMA ONO:

Onongia ai nga tipu i nga marama o Hepetema tae noa ki Noema ki Tihema. Ko Hepetema me Oketopa nga marama mo te kumara mataamua. Ka ono i Tihema meana e pirangi ana ki te mahinga tomuri. Ko te nuinga onongia ai i Noema.

TE POU KUMARA:

Ko ta te Maori tana mahi kumara he awhina i ona hoa, ara te whakatauaki. “Mano tini mano nui ka rite te whai.”

Ko te mea tuatahi hei mahitanga ko nga poka mo nga tipu. Ma nga korokoro matamua o te ringaringa katau e pou, a ka pupuritia te kakati i roto i te ringaringa maui. Ka panga te tipu kia toru inihi ki roto i te oneone kia ngaro katoa nga

 
 

THE STORY ABOUT PLANTING KUMARA

When the garden is ready, the first thing that has to be done is the picking of the kumara plants from the seedbed. When a large number of plants has been picked, they are then tied into bundles, each containing about a hundred. Picking kumara plants is quite a long job if the garden is a large one. When thousands of plants have been collected, they are then placed in water. Some people place the roots of the plants in mud-pudding. This is a better way. The reason is that the roots will not dry out but will remain moist all the time. The plants which have more rootlets attached to them are the best ones.

The first lot of plants picked out of the seedbed is generally given to other people, because they have not grown enough rootlets, and the plants are not strong enough. The plants picked afterwards are the best ones.

The kumara is planted from September to December. September and October are the months for planting early kumara, and in December, if a person desires a late crop. But most people prefer planting their main crop in November.

It is a Maori custom for friends to gather to help. Hence the proverb “Many hands make light work.”

The first thing that has to be done is the forming of holes for the plants. The first two fingers of the right hand make a hole, while the left holds the bundle of plants. The plant is then placed three inches into the ground, so that the roots are covered. They may be placed a foot apart from

 
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weu. Kotahi putu, nuku atu ranei, te mamao o nga tipu tetahi i tetahi. Ki te tutata rawa kaore e kitea e te ra. Ka tahoro ki te wai ka tapuke.

Mehemea i purungia ki ro paruparu, kaore noaiho e tahorohorongia ki te wai.

Kauaka e tahorohia te wai ki runga i nga rau mehemea he rangi tino wera. Ko te take hoki ka whakaetongia e te ra te wai i runga i nga rau, a ka maroke te tipu. Ehara i te mea ma nga rau e whangai te tipu, engari ma nga pakiaka ke. No reira e tahorongia ai te wai ki runga i te oneone, ki raro i nga rau, kia heke ai te wai ki nga weu whangai o te tipu.

Toro ai te nuinga o te tangata i nga putake ki te urunga o te ra, no te mea he pirangi te kumara ki te ra. Tetahi, ka mohiotia kei tewhea taha nga kumara, ka ngawari te ngaki me te hauhake. Kaore e tapahia nga kumara.

MO TE NGAKI:

Ka ngakingia nga tarutaru e rua wiki ki te wha wiki i muri iho pea i te onotanga o nga tipu. Ko etahi tangata kua waia nei ki enei mahi, ka pai ki a ratou te tipitipi i a ratou tipu kia timata i te uwhi, kia haere tohitu nga tutira. Ko te mea ke kia ata mahi, kei motu nga kumara i te tipitipi. He mahi ngawari tonu te ngaki kumara, mehemea ma te hoiho, ma te mihini ranei, e karawhaea a waenganui o nga rarangi.

KO TE WHAKATIKATIKA I TE WHENUA MO TE ONO KUMARA:

Ko te mea tuatahi he titiro he wahi pai mo te mahinga. Kaore e pai ki nga wahi parakiwai, ki nga wahi parahua ranei. No te mea kaore te kumara e tipu i nga wahi makuku, a ki nga whenua momona rawa hoki. Ko nga wahi pai ko era e rite tonu ana i te onotia ana ki te kumara. He tino pai nga wahi ahua kirikiri. E wha nga mea hei mahitanga i mua i te onotanga i te kumara.

 
 

each other. If they are too close together they will not get enough sun. Water is poured on and then they are covered.

If they are put into mud-pudding there is no need to water them.

Water must not be poured on the leaves if planting is being done on a hot day. The reason is that the sun will evaporate the water on the leaves, causing the plant to wither. It is not the leaves that feed the plant, but the roots. That is why the water is poured on the soil under the leaves, so that it soaks to the roots which feed the plant.

People face the roots of their plants towards the east, where the sun rises, if using the “T” method, because the kumara is a sun loving plant. Another reason is that the person who is weeding and digging the garden will know on which side the young kumara are.

The garden is weeded about two to four weeks after planting.

A person who is a skilled cropped likes to lift the runners when they have started to spread, so that the sun may reach the kumara which are starting to develop. The thing is to work carefully, or else the kumara will be injured. Kumara weeding is quite an easy job if horse or tractor implements are used for inter-tillage between rows.

MODERN KUMARA CULTIVATED IN WAIAPU

The first thing to do is to look for the right site for the garden. It is of no use planting the kumara in a damp or hilly area, nor in an alluvial soil. Kumara will not grow successfully in damp and in very rich soil. Sandy areas are the best places for planting. There are four things to do in preparation of the kumara garden.

 
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Te Parau:

Ka paraungia te mahinga kia huritia te oneone. Kia papaku ano te parau, ki te ono inihi. No te mea ki te hohonu rawa te parau ka whai ke nga tipu o te kumara ki raro o te oneone. Ka ahua uaua ki nga tangata e hauhake ana i te kumara ki te kari, no te mea hoki kei raro rawa te kumara.

Te Kiwha:

Ka kiwhangia te mahinga kia noho ia ma ona mata e haehae te oneone. Ka haehaea te oneone kia noho ngohengohe. No te mea hoki he pai ki nga tipu o te kumara te oneone ngohengohe.

Te Rakaraka:

Ka rakarakangia te mahinga kia rewara ai tana takoto. Ehara i te mea koira anake tana mahi, engari he tari patiti me era atu tarutaru ki tahaki.

Te Karawhaea:

Ka karawhaengia te mahinga kia takoto ai ona rarangi; ara he mea whakaawaawa. Ko etahi tangata whakaawaawa ai ma te hoiho ko etahi whakaawaawa ai ma te mihini. E rua putu te pamamao o nga rarangi i tetahi ki tetahi. Kua pai inaianei mo te ono i nga tipu.

HE KORERO MO TE NGAKI, MO TE HAUHAKE I TE KUMARA:

Ehara te mahi ngaki kumara i te mahi ngawari, he mahi roa tenei. Ko te wa e tika ana mo te ngaki kei te tangata tona tikanga, notemea e rua, e toru ranei nga ngakitanga. Ko te mea nui kia puta te kumara ki waho o te taru. I enei wa he rawe te karawhaea hoiho me era atu mihini tarakita mo waenganui o nga rarangi hei haehae i te whenua, hei rakuraku i nga tarutaru ki waho. Ma te tipitipi o waenganui o nga tipu kauaka e tata rawa te tipitipi ki nga tipu no te mea ka tapahia nga weu me nga kumara ririki kei te tipu ake. Pai ake tenei mahi ma te ringa.

Kia toro nga kawai ko te mahi he hiki i enei kei tipu ka rau tae nui. I nga wa o mua pokaingia ai nga kawai kia whitikia nga putake e te ra. Kaore noa iho e mahia inaianei, no te mea kua nunui rawa nga mara, he mea mahi penei hei hoko.

Ko Maehe, ko Aperira nga marama hauhake. Pai tonu a Pepuere mo nga mara mataamua, a Mei hoki mo nga mea tomuri. Paraungia ai ki waho te nuinga o a matou kumara inaianei. He tere tenei, a kaore noa iho e tino maru ana te kumara. Engari tera ano te tokomaha kei te hauhake ma te kaheru. He mahi roa, he mahi patu tuara tenei. Ka puta ki runga he mahiti te mahi a etahi, katahi ka tapuke ki waenga mo te rua wiki, kia kitea ai nga mea pirau. Me tapuke tonu ma te oneone, kia matatoru tonu, ko nga rau kumara ki runga atu. Ka tae ki te wa ka tari ki ro rua. He nui nga rua o naianei kei te hangaia ma te papa me te haena. Ko nga mea kei te tino whai i te hoko kumara nga mea e mahi ana i tenei mahi. Tera ano etahi kei te mau tonu ki nga rua tawhito a te Maori, ara nga rua e hangaia ana

 
 
The Ploughing:

The area is ploughed over so that the turf is turned over. The depth of the ploughing should be about 6in, as deep ploughing permits the roots of the tipu to work their way downwards and settle at the bottom of the soil. This makes it difficult for the people who are harvesting, because the tubers are too far down.

The Discing:

Now the area is disced over so that the blades of the dise will cut up the soil into fine, soft loam. This is done because the plant loves fine, soft soil.

The Harrowing:

Afterwards the area is harrowed over. This is done to level out the soil. It is also useful in dragging tufts of grass and weeds to the sides.

The Scarifying:

Finally the area is scarified to form rows or ridges. Some farmers use horses and tractor implements.

WEEDING AND HARVESTING KUMARA

Weeding kumara is not an easy job and it takes up time. The time for weeding depends on the person concerned, whether weeding is done two or three times. The thing is to keep the crop free of weeds. Nowadays the hore and tractor scarafier has been found more suitable for inter-row tillage to pulverise the soil and also to tear the weeds out. A push hoe is more suitable for doing between the plants, but it may cut the plants and the young tubers which are starting to develop. This is best done by hand. When runners develop they are lifted occasionally to prevent them rooting and to prevent the plant becoming too leafy. In former times, runners were folded about the plant so that sunlight penetrated to the tubers. With the very large crops for marketing, this is not done now.

March and April are the usual months for harvesting. Early crops are harvested in February, while late ones are harvested in May. Most of the kumaras are now harvested by plough. This is a quick method and the plant is not injured very much. But some still use the old method of harvesting with a spade. This method is a back breaking one. When all the kumara are dug out they are then put into earth clamps for two weeks. This is done to reveal rotten ones in the crop. The clamp must be covered thickly with soil and then by the kumara leaves. After a period of two weeks, they are then taken into the storage pit. There are many different ways of making a pit. Some build theirs with timber and corrugated iron. They are by those who generally sell their kumara. There are still those who use the old Maori method of making a pit, that is using tree

 
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ma te wheki, ma te toetoe, ma te oneone. Ko te tikanga o nga rua he mea hanga ma te papa he mea hanga mo te kiore. Tetahi kua kitea kaore e tino nui rawa nga kumara e pirau i te maku, he ngawari tonu ra tenei rua ki te mahi inaianei.

HE KORERO MO TE MAHI KAO

He korero tenei mo te mahi tuatahi mo te mahi kao, me waruwaru nga kumara. Mehemea he kumara hou ka waruwarungia ma te rau manuka. Mehemea he kumara tahito me waruwaru noa e koe. Katahi ka horoi kia ma, katahi ka whakamaroke mo te rua ki te toru ra ranei. Kaore e pai kia rarahi rawa nga kumara. Kaore he mahi tapahi mehemea he kumara pakupaku.

Ka timata te mahi i te hangi a ka tiki ano i etahi rau kauere. Mehemea kua pai te hangi ka ruiruingia ki te wai kia puta te mamaoa.

A ka uhingia etahi rau kauere ki runga i nga pohatu a ka purua nga kumara ki runga atu i nga rau kauere a he rau ano ki runga ake i nga kumara.

Ka ruirui ano ki te wai i mua o te uhitanga o nga peeke ki runga engari kia tere tonu te uhi ki runga kia kore te mamaoa e puta.

I muri iho o tera ka tapuke ki te oneone. A ka waihongia kia tapatu ana, mo te ata o tetahi atu rangi. Ka huke, ka tango i nga kumara ka whakamaroke ki te ra kia kite iho koe kua maroke.

He tino pai ki te tamariki, ki te katoa noa iho.

 

fern, toetoe and soil. The advantage of using timber and iron is that the pit can be made rat proof. Also it has been found an easier type to construct, and the loss of kumara through rotting is very little.

HOW TO PREPARE KAO

The first thing to do in making Kao (preserved kumara) is to scrape or scrub the skins off the kumara. With new kumara there is no need to scrape them, but they may be scrubbed with manuka brush. If the kumara are old ones you have to scrape and wash them clean. Then spread them out in the sun to dry for two or three days. Large kumara are not suitable. If they are small ones there is no need to halve them.

While preparing the hangi, kanere (puriri) leaves may be obtained. As soon as the hangi is hot and ready, water is sprinkled on the stones to raise the steam. On the hot stones are placed the kanere leaves. Before covering the hangi more water is sprinkled and then the coverings are quickly placed over everything so that too much steam does not escape. After this soil is used to cover everything though a careful watch has to be kept for a while. Uncover the hangi the following morning and sun dry the kao, after which they are eaten with relish by children, in fact by everybody.