Monday, December 10, 2012

Quail Island Trip, More Maori Food and Gardens...

After a beautiful day out with my favourite little people, we are back into the last throes of school for the year. Tomorrow our little people meet their new teachers and see their class room for 2013. We went to Quail Island yesterday, walked for miles, ate lunch at the beach, dipped our toes in the waters of the harbour and had an awesome experience - got to see Hectors Dolphins, a little blue penguin, and some beautiful scenery... Its an awesome day out, the trip over to Quail Island. It is the Quarantine Island, in Lyttleton Harbour, where historically, there was a Leper Colony, and later where people coming into NZ were put until they were known to be *safe* to enter the country. They also used to train dogs for the Antarctic on the island... It is a hilly island full of walking tracks, beautiful mature trees and lots to see. Even true to its name, there are Quail.

Still reading. And enjoying learning something new!  Have been to the library to hunt for some books, but the internet has some good info. (if its on the internet its true so they say :-))
I have tried to imagine getting in a canoe and carrying  my most essential plants and trees across the sea to an unknown place, to live. How do you decide which you take?- not knowing what or who you might find there, not knowing the growing conditions - well, it must have been pretty nerve-racking!
From what I have read, yam and kumara (sweet potato) didnt grow so well in the South, and of course, Coconut didnt grow at all. The climate was difficult, and it took some time to get things growing.
Potatoes were introduced by Captain Cook, - they acclimatized  and grew well and were adapted to become a valuable resource. Taewa (maori potatoes) are a taonga, or treasure, with siginificant historical and cultural value.  There were also yam, gourd, cabbage tree and bracken to eat. Here in NZ there were native trees and bushes with berries, plants with tender roots to eat. Moa was hunted and eaten, leading to its extinction.

In this link here -Maori Agriculture it mentions just four food plants were brought over to NZ.
How incredible. It is also mentioned that the Maori found that their gardens needed more attention and cultivation here than in their hotter lands. We have it so much easier these days, with all the variety we have available.
But what if we didnt, or that choice was narrowed or  taken away from us? ... Its a scary future, with all the news articles about giant companies like Monsanto, and the bid to make seeds genetically modified by these giants who hold the monopoly over the small seed growers... Life could be so totally different if they succeed to push through their agendas...

For now, Im sticking to my open-pollinated, easy to grow varieties that are chosen by seeing what others can grow in our area. I think its great to be able to grow things that are *difficult* for our cold zone climate, but to feed people, you need to know what you put into the ground has been grown before with great success...

On with the reading...
Interesting Link
TaewaCultural Value of Taewa

No comments:

Post a Comment