Māori Plant Use

   Skip Navigation Links
Copyright © 2021

Reference Details 

BEST Elsdon 1902. Notes on the art of war as conducted by the Māori of New Zealand. Journal of the Polynesian Society 11 : Part I 11-41, Part II 47-75, Part III 127-162, Part IV 219-246
TITLE: Notes on the art of war as conducted by the Māori of New Zealand
PUBLISHER: Journal of the Polynesian Society.
NOTES: Principle food on war trail was aruhe. Dried, roasted and pounded to disengage black, stringy fibres (kaka) from meal. Often formed into cakes (komeke) that were again roasted. 'Te manawa nui o Whete' = the sustaining food of Whete. Whete, an ancestor of Matatua people, would eat 2 large komeke before battle, and performed great feats of valour and endurance. Prepared meal usually formed into a roll of 6-10' in length. At camping place of war or travelling party, could tell number of chiefs with party by noting refuse of aruhe upon ground. Aruhe more carefully prepared for chiefs, less fibres to be rejected.
TRADITIONS: Evil omen to pound at night. 'Kaua e patu ite aruhe i te pō, he upoko tangata, he tohu aitua' (Do not pound fernroot at night, a human head (will be so struck), it is an evil omen) Another saying is 'Ka ora karikari aruhe, ka mate tākiri kākā' (the digger of fernroot has an abundance of food, but the parrotsnarer will go hungry).
LINK WORDS: food, fernroot traditions, Pteridium, aruhe