Published on January 4, 2008
Maori Ethnobotany: Maori Ethnobotany Morgan L. Riles Global Studies in Plant Biology New Zealand Seminar October 26, 2005 Questions to Consider:: Questions to Consider: What is ethnobotany? Why was the Aruhe fern one of the first principle vegetables in the Maori diet? What replaces the non-woody “trunk” of the Mamaku (black tree fern), and what is its proper name? What was the process that Maoris used to preserve the Kumara (sweet potato) that is still used today? Origins of Polynesian Ancestry: Origins of Polynesian Ancestry As early as 600 AD, Polynesians began voyaging to New Zealand with the last of the “Great Fleet” arriving as late as 1350 AD. With the new land came a new name for the people that first settled it successfully www.vacationaustralia.net The Polynesian Triangle: The Polynesian Triangle The Maori people are a Polynesian rooted culture, whose ancestors are believed to have journeyed from various islands included in the Polynesian triangle Image is public domain. Principle Foods of Polynesians: Principle Foods of Polynesians Before Polynesian Migration Principle crops of Polynesia: Breadfruit, banana, yam, sweet potato, taro, coconut, gourd, and arrowroot Te Ngahere A TaneMaori Gods, Forest Lore and Associated Rituals: Te Ngahere A Tane Maori Gods, Forest Lore and Associated Rituals The Story of Tane: Searching for the Uha ira tanga: The Story of Tane: Searching for the Uha ira tanga The Maori believe the forest and its inhabitants (including themselves) are the children of Tane, and they were brought into existence during his search for the ira tanga (human element) Tane was one of many sons of Rangi “sky father” and Papa “earth mother”. He was in search of the female element called “Uha” Papa told Tane he would find Uha in the red earth of the beach Kurawaka Tane named the first woman Hine-ahu-one, which means “earth-formed maiden” Image referenced from www.wahine.co.nz Ngahere TapuForest Tapu: Ngahere Tapu Forest Tapu The Maori valued their forests, and they were always under tapu (protective devices) because it is a Mauri (life principle) of Tane Their purpose was to protect the Mana (sacredness) of the forest, guard its fertility, and serve as a voice to the atua (spirits) of the forest. Ko te mauri o te ngaherehere hai taunga mo nga karakia kia nui a nga manu hai kaupapa mo te ngaherehere, hai mana. Introduction to Maori Ethnobotany:Agriculture: Introduction to Maori Ethnobotany: Agriculture What is Ethnobotany?: What is Ethnobotany? Ethnobotany is the study of why and how people conceptualize and use plants in their culture The field was created in 1895 by Dr. John Harshberger when he suggested the name “ethno-botany” to categorize the study of how plants were used by primitive, aboriginal people. Maori Crops: Maori Crops The Aruhe Fern RootPteris aquilinum var. esulenta: The Aruhe Fern Root Pteris aquilinum var. esulenta Rhizome of the fern was one of the principle vegetable foods in the Maori diet during their first years The Bracken fern grows in damp, alluvial soils and it grows 6-8 ft. in height Maori Cultivation of the fern took team work According to the Journal of A.S. Thompson in 1847, the Maori would only harvest the root between August and September, and only roots longer than 18 inches would be used as food ©J.S. Peterson. USDA NRCS NPDC. Strybing Arboretum, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA. October 1, 2002 The KumaraIpomoea batatas : The Kumara Ipomoea batatas The sweet potato was the most important of the early Maori Crops. Feminine Maori mythology and the Kumara The plant is from the Convolvulaceae family or “Morning Glories” The Maori planted the kumara in trenches to regulate soil temperature and drainage The potato was prepared by scraping off the skin with a shell, and putting them through a process of drying and steaming Image referenced from www.pflanze-und-co.de/Bilder/pages/ Ipomoea%20batatas.html The TaroColocasia antiquorum: The Taro Colocasia antiquorum The plant is a perennial, and the Maori usually would harvest it from the wild only when needed Corms and stems were eaten, they provided nutrition in the form of starch The corm played an important role in tribal ceremonies because it was available year-round University of Hawaii Campus plants, UH Botany Taro Nutrient Table: Taro Nutrient Table Table referenced from http://www.dpi.qld.gov.au/horticulture/5224.html The HueLagenaria vulgaris: The Hue Lagenaria vulgaris The gourd is originally from eastern Polynesia and was cultivated in the Pacific Isles Member of the Cucurbitaceae, or cucumber family, and is classified as a vine The gourd required damp, rich soil and warmth. The Maori were very careful to plant gourd crops only during certain phases of the moon The Ti PoneCordyline terminalis: The Ti Pone Cordyline terminalis The Maori introduced this plant for cultivation, it had never been found in a wild state, and cannot reproduce without artificial help The root of the plant was sometimes longer than the plant itself, and the Maori utilized it many ways Image referenced from http://www.desert-tropicals.com/Plants/ Agavaceae/Cordyline_terminalis.html Carragheen Gigartina stellata: Carragheen Gigartina stellata Carragheen is a red seaweed, and the species Gigartina stellata is used in New Zealand The Maori utilized algae to make jelly by mixing carragheen with water and fresh fruit Introduction to Maori Ethnobotany:Medicinal Plants: Introduction to Maori Ethnobotany: Medicinal Plants The Role of the Tohunga: The Role of the Tohunga The Tohunga served as the tribal priestly scholar He was the medicine man of the tribe, and knew best how to utilize the natural healing powers of plants The Tohunga was also the keeper of tapu over the tribe Medicinal Trees: Medicinal Trees KahikateaPodocarpus dacrydioides: Kahikatea Podocarpus dacrydioides The conifer produces seeds inside a scarlet colored fleshy coat to attract birds The leaves and bark were utilized for medicinal purposes Trees have a straight trunk that can reach heights of over 120 feet transitofvenus.auckland.ac.nz/.../ Final%20Web/ Matai Podocarpus spicatus: Matai Podocarpus spicatus Aka Black Pine The Maori taped the trees sap and drank it to relieve sickness The wood of the black pine has a fine texture and is used to make floorboards www.bushmansfriend.co.nz/.../ content.html RimuDacrydium cupressinum: Rimu Dacrydium cupressinum The rimu or Red Pine provided excellent timber for the Maori, and it only grows best in its native soils The Maori found that its bark had many holistic healing properties www.mtbruce.org.nz/ rimu.htm MamakuCyathea medullaris: Mamaku Cyathea medullaris The Black Tree Fern is the largest in New Zealand, it can grow up to 50 feet with a canopy spread of 40 feet across! The pith and stems of the plant are all edible Photos courtesy of Ralph Booth http://www.angelfire.com/bc/eucalyptus/treeferns/medullaris.html Medicinal Mosses and Lichens: Medicinal Mosses and Lichens Agiangi Usnea barbata : Agiangi Usnea barbata Usnea barbata, or “Aaron’s beard” is a lichen, belonging to the Parmeliaceae family Maori mothers used the soft moss to cover their new born babies! usuarios.arsystel.com/.../ barba_capuchino.htm Sphagnum: Sphagnum Sphagnum is a moss, and it is a member of the Sphagnaceae family The moss could absorb over 100 times its weight in water, and it was also used for dressing wounds ©Michael Lüth. Courtesy of Michael Lüth. Lüth, M. 2004. Medicinal Shrubs : Medicinal Shrubs RaupoTypha orientalis: Raupo Typha orientalis Raupo, or cattail as we know it, is a type of reed that always grows near water The pua (pollen) of the top of the spike is edible, and was used to make a type of bread called pungapunga ©James L. Reveal. Courtesy of Smithsonian Institution, Dept. of Systematic Biology, Botany. WiPoa caespitosa: Wi Poa caespitosa Wi, aka “Low Tussock” Maoris ground plant to make a concoction for drinking Image reference: Virginia Kline, http://botit.botany.wisc.edu The Conservation Status of New Zealand’s Indigenous Grasslands: The Conservation Status of New Zealand’s Indigenous Grasslands Professor Alan Mark of the University of Otago’s department of Botany compiled a study in 2002, to track the recession of the five major grassland types in New Zealand from their original baselines in 1840— just before Europeans colonized the country! The study was requested for an assessment initiative by the World Conservation Union, to track the status of indigenous grassland types in countries all over the globe. Mapping the Changes: Mapping the Changes The extent of the grasslands in 1840 were compiled by collecting the best available information from professors at various Universities located across the island; Geoff Rogers (North Island), Shannel Courtney (Nelson-Marlborough), Peter Wardle (Canterbury and Central-North Westland, Alan Mark (Otago-South Westland) and Brian Rance (Southland) the rain-shadow rangeland, the western wet non- rangeland, and the eastern lower altitude non-rangeland regions. Slide34: New Zealand Ecological Regions 57% 24% 10% 8% Slide35: North Island 1840 2002 Slide36: South Island 1840 2002 Charts: Charts Works Cited: Works Cited Best, Eldson. Maori Agriculture. Wellington: A.R. Shearer, Government Printer, 1976. 13-256. Dawson, John, and Rob Lucas. Nature Guide to the Forests of New Zealand. Auckland: Godwit, 2000. 21-197. Macdonald, Christina. Medicines of the Maori. Auckland: Collins, 1974. 13-119. Rout, Ettie A. Native Diet. London: Wlliam Heinemann (Medical Books) Ltd., 1926. 7-57. Gray, Sir George. Polynesian Mythology. New York: Taplinger, 1970. 1-106. Grim, John A., Lawrence E. Sullivan, Kathryn Dodgson, and Eric Edstam. Indigenous Traditions and Ecology: The Interbeing of Cosmology and Community. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 2001. 197-221. Irwin, James. An Introduction to Maori Religion. Vol. 4. Bedford Park, Austrailia: Austrailian Association for the Study of Religions, 1984. 5-61. Larrington, Carolyne. The Feminist Companion to Mythology. London: Pandora P, 1992. 288-304. Web resources: Web resources 24 Oct. 2005 <http://anthro.fortlewis.edu/ethnobotany/ethno2.htm>. 24 Oct. 2005 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maori>. 24 Oct. 2005 <http://www.botany.hawaii.edu/faculty/carr/page7.htm>. 24 Oct. 2005 <http://www.botany.otago.ac.nz/tussockconservation>. 24 Oct. 2005 <http://www.innvista.com/health/foods/vegetables/seaveg.htm>. 24 Oct. 2005 <http://www.janesoceania.com/polynesian_triangle/index.htm>. 24 Oct. 2005 <http://www.thefreedictionary.com/alluvial+soil>. 25 Oct. 2005 <http://www.cipotato.org/sweetpotato/sweetpotato.htm>.