This year’s Te Wiki o te Reo Māori (Māori Language Week) has the theme, Te Mahi Kai, The Language of Food.
To get you started, here are some kai-related terms: kūmara, rua kūmara, pātaka, whata, kurī, kiore, pūhā, poaka, wīti, rīwai, kāpia, ipu and kōhatu.
Though Māori ancestors came from Polynesia, one of the plants they brought with them, kūmara (sweet potatoes), originated from South America. The kūmara we eat today is different from kūmara eaten in pre-European times. It was imported in the 19th century.
Pūhā and porkbones are a classic Māori meal. However, while pūhā is native to New Zealand, poaka (pigs) were only introduced to New Zealand from the late 1700s. Māori bread and rīwai (Māori potatoes) are also post-European developments as wīti (wheat) and potatoes are European introductions.
The gum from the kauri tree was known as kāpia. It was used as chewing gum.