Northland Kumara

Growing kūmara (sweet potato) was a traditional activity that some northern Māori turned into a trade, selling the vegetable to European settlers who had not yet established their own crops. Here, two women of Awanui, Ngāwini Hetaraka (left) and Ngāhuia Hetaraka, sort the crop and pack it into kete (flax kits).
Growing kūmara (sweet potato) was a traditional activity that some northern Māori turned into a trade, selling the vegetable to European settlers who had not yet established their own crops. Here, two women of Awanui, Ngāwini Hetaraka (left) and Ngāhuia Hetaraka, sort the crop and pack it into kete (flax kits).

 The Kauri Coast is New Zealand's premier Kumara growing district. We supply close to 95% of the countries total crop.

There are two main factors why this area has proven to be the most suitable place for production.

1. The soil type.
The best soil for growing Kumara is alluvial soil which means mud from the river. The Northern Wairoa river is certainly famous for its mud.

2. Temperature.
Kumara is a semi-tropical vegetable which thrives in temperature's around 24° centigrade but cease to grow below 17°. This means that we have only one chance to grow New Zealand's Kumara crop over the summer.

Firstly the Maori and then pioneer farmers such as Mereana Te paa and Bill Evans proved the feasibility of commercial growing. Today the cultivation of the humble sweet potato is a huge industry in the Kaipara.

In 1850, the traditional Maori Kumara was superseded by a new variety introduced from the American Whaling ship called "The Rainbow". From this new strain came the "Owairaka Red" which is  now the Kauri coasts most popular variety.

Since the late 1920's Kumara growing has become one of the key industries in the region providing 100's of jobs in what was an area reliant upon Kauri timber and gum exports.

 

Did you know?

2/3 CUP OF KUMARA GIVES YOU:
100% of the RDA* of vitamin E.
100% of the RDA* of vitamin A.

36% of the RDA* of vitamin C.
5% of the RDA* of iron.
Kumara has a sweet  taste but contains only 141 calories per 500g.

*Recommended Daily Allowance

How nutritious are kumara?

Kumara are one of the healthiest vegetables you can eat.
Kumara are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals.
Kumara are virtually fat-free, cholesterol-free and very low in sodium.
Kumara are a very good source of potassium.
Kumara are a good source of vitamin A, Beta-carotene (a form of vitamin A) which is said to help in the prevention of cancer, is found in kumara.
Kumara provides many other essential nutrients including vitamin B6, calcium and iron.
Kumara are a very good source of dietary fibre containing more than oatmeal.
Kumara are an excellent source of vitamin C.
Kumara provides starchy carbohydrate

What does all the nutritional stuff mean?

Vitamin A helps bodies grow normally and can help prevent some cancers.
Vitamin B6 is important because it supports more essential body functions, such as protein metabolism and cellular growth, than any other vitamin.
Fibre helps keep the digestive tract healthy.
Potassium helps regulate blood pressure and aids in muscle contraction.
Iron helps in the process of making blood, which supplies oxygen to our cells.
Calcium helps to support bones and teeth.
Vitamin C helps the body absorb iron, keeps teeth and gums healthy and heals wounds.