Small-scale Maori horticulture : sustainability and the nexus between introduced crops and traditional lands
Maori horticulture is framed by the introduction of tropical crops to the temperate climes of the base of the Polynesian triangle. So-called traditional plants such as kumara (sweet potato), kamo kamo (squash), karenga (corn) and taewa or riwai (potato) once formed a significant component of the Maori diet. While modern varieties are now repackaged as highly processed ‘fast’ foods, the old heritage varieties are still grown by Maori on small, isolated gardens, often tended by our old people, and valued as flavoursome ‘slow’ foods cloaked in stories. These gardens now feature in both scientific and community development programmes as researchers and Maori landowners seek to expand the options for sustainable land-use and satisfy an array of economic, environmental, social and cultural criteria. This paper outlines the history of what has been termed ‘ecological imperialism’ as colonial strategies explicitly sought to recast the landscapes of Indigenous peoples. In Aotearoa/New Zealand’s, traditional Maori knowledge is routinely tapped for contemporary insights, sometimes in superficial branding exercises but also with the hope and expectations of greater Maori participation in modern science and technology arenas. The story of Tahuri Whenua (the National Maori Vegetable Growers’ Collective) is presented as a grassroots movement supported by university-based studies that provides the necessary research space for the reassertion of place-based Maori identity.... [Show full abstract]
TypeConference Contribution - Unpublished (Conference Oral Presentation)
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