The large kūmara (sweet potato) available in supermarkets are quite different from the more slender varieties that Polynesians brought with them to New Zealand. Kūmara were the most successful introduced crop, flourishing in northern, coastal areas. However, they were marginal in the colder central North Island and the South Island. They came originally from South America and were being grown and eaten in the Cook Islands by 1000 CE. It is possible, but not proven, that Polynesian seafarers had made round trips to South America by this time.
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The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand - Kuratini Tuwhera
Photograph by Graham Harris
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