Peruperu planted in mounds, Whangarei

HERITURIKOKA Early planting

Heriturikoka has again been a busy month, travelling up and down the country supporting everyone in their maramataka planning!    On Tirea I really felt the change in the weather, a gentle warming.  Its quite significant Tirea being the moon after Whiro, new beginnings.  So on Ohoata the moon after, we rose early, excited to mahi (work) after the wa okioki (resting period) of Mutuwhenua, Whiro and Tirea.

I was really excited to open my seed tin, and choose a small packet of carefully saved  tomato seeds wrapped in a brown envelope labelled “Sue Ferens purple tomato ”  This is how I classify all of my seeds, naming them after the person that the seed came to me from!  Seed saving is easy, rewarding and costs nothing but a little preparation!  We share our seeds as a way of maintaining the stock, 20 years ago our kaumatua of the far North would swap kumara tupu and Maori potato seeds with us annually, Peter Jones, Pa Moses, Saana Murray, they have all passed on now and the job of keeping the seed going descends to the next generation.

Living in Te Taitokerau we have a reputation for a having a significantly warm climate in comparison to other areas of the country, however our high rain fall makes our gardens very prone to insect infestation.  Being Maori, organic spray free hua para kore gardeners, calls for us to live in harmony with nature.  We plant a little extra in the garden, for everyone including the ngarara (insects)!  They really love, coloured plants, the purple cabbages get hammered!

So the small act of planting the tomato seeds in Ohoata then motivated us to weed and prepare our bigger garden in Whangarei.  Putting our hands in the soil we felt how warm the earth was, a real indication that since Tirea the weather and whenua was indeed warming!  Our trays of carefully saved Kowiniwini Maori potato seed from last season were brought out and our anticipation of a early riwai (potato) crop and plans for a double harvest before next years Matariki, ensured the whole seed stash was planted!

Global warming is indeed a reality, however how do we as tangata whenua (people of the land) observe and understand the changing weather patterns to ensure we can still survive into the future?  Maramataka helps us to classify the right time to do the right activity and gardening and food production is extremely important.  However the knowledge is in the practice!  We must mahia te mahi (do the work) to have a real understanding of the land, seasons, gardens, marama and weather.  We are utilising our indigenous knowledge for a double harvest this year, ambitious yes, a little cheeky?  Of course!  If you can increase your bounty, go for it!  I cannot encourage you all enough to get into the garden!  Its healing, connecting and the kai is good!  The next good days for planting are in Mahuru (September) Ohoata, Ouenuku and Okoro!