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Kūmara cultivar. Hutihuti. Information from Tapsell (2).

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Pre-European kūmara cultivar.

This information is taken directly from Tapsell 1947: 331.

"This is claimed to be an original by the Arawa also, and differs only in size from the taroamahoe. It was said to be a favourite food of travellers when eaten on the march after being sun-dried. It also supplied the almost only known drink to the old-time Māori, kao, which was made by mixing the dry powdered root with water. Until 1942-43 it was, with the rekamaroa, a fairly familiar sight in every home kumara plot. Another reason why hutihuti has not been propagated latterly is that it has out-grown its popularity as a food and is much more tedious to prepare for cooking. (I have seen the older generation of kuia... spend hours scraping a basketful of hutihuti just for one meal in the home. Straight from the ground it compared more favourably with the large Island Red or even the more fleshy rekamaroa when cooked, and used to be a favourite dish with boiled fish-heads or any fish meal, to the older generation)"

Hutihuti was grown at Maketu, Mōtiti Island, Tauranga, Te Puke, Matata, Otamarakau, Te Teko, Mokoia Island at Rotorua, and possibly at Orekei Pā, Auckland.

Root and leaf are illustrated. The leaf is drawn from a specimen placed in the Auckland Museum in 1942. Leaves are similar to Rekamaroa, but are greener and slightly irregular in formation with more compact growing habits.

"In dry seasons the hutihuti hardly sends out any vines or off-shoots or suckers, while the ordinary commercial variety usually has to be cut back to prevent the plot becoming "all top" or leaves, instead of rooting. Until the hutihuti died out it was kept from one season until the next in pits and planted straight into the ground at the same time as the rest of the crop" (ibid: 328)

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28 May 2007
13 June 2020
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