Hamilton Gardens hold on to tradition by planting and harvesting kūmara yearly

By Numia Ponika-Rangi

Ngāti Wairere was renowned for their traditional planting and harvesting of food on Te Parapara in Hamilton because the land along the banks of the Waikato River was so fertile.  This is a tradition the Hamilton Gardens continues with by planting and harvesting of kūmara each year.

Within the Hamilton Gardens lies Te Parapara Garden, a sacred garden of Ngāti Wairere.

In the old days, it was associated with the harvesting of food crops for survival because of its fertility for growing crops.

An elder says it was because of its fertility that non-Māori were attracted to the land.

The Gardens has continued with the traditional planting and harvesting of kūmara each year in line with the Māori lunar calendar, so the knowledge will not be lost.

The new year of Matariki will indicate harvest time at Te Parapara, and just as it was in the old days, the fruits of their labour will be distributed among the people.