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Kūmara cultivar. Waīna. Berridge. (2)

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Berridge 1913: 415-416 gives an account of the introduction of this cultivar to New Zealand:

"Although this variety is cultivated more largely than any other kind, it is considered by the Natives to be only a late introduction to New Zealand, and was not known to the older men in their youth. The most reliable account I have been able to obtain of its introduction to New Zealand was from Mr Val Savage of Opotiki. Some time in the "fifties" he was employed repairing boats on the "Rainbow" whaler, and during dinner he was offered some sweet potatoes very much larger than any he had previously seen among the Maoris. On inquiring from the captain where they were grown he was informed that the vessel had brought them from the South Seas - Raratonga, I believe. Mr. Savage procured some from the captain, and divided them among the Maoris.

Some were sent north and some to the Bay of Plenty. They rapidly became appreciated in many parts of the country. This potato was called "Waīna" by the Māoris because it was propagated by sets or plants or part of the vine ... The Waīna often sports, and plants with both yellow and red tubers often appear in a crop, although only plants from red tubers be planted. Others will be found of varying shades, from deep crimson to pink, and even both colours on one tuber."

Cultivated in the Hokianga. "...a new kind yielding abundantly on suitable soil" ( Hammond 1894).

In list of kūmara varieties recorded by Gudgeon 1893 - "introduced early in this century"; Best 1925 - "introduced by Europeans."

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28 May 2007
13 June 2020
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