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European effect on the Maori Diet. Summary. Before European arrival the Maoris ate mostly fish, kumara, as well as lots of plants. When Europeans arrived they introduced potato, cabbage, wheat etc which became a staple of the Maori diet. Plants - Before European Contact.

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  • Before European arrival the Maoris ate mostly fish, kumara, as well as lots of plants.
  • When Europeans arrived they introduced potato, cabbage, wheat etc which became a staple of the Maori diet.
plants before european contact
Plants - Before European Contact.

Before the Europeans came the Maori discovered many edible plants and berries in the forests. When the Maori discovered that their native plants could not survive in New Zealand's cold temperature, they lived of grounded ferns One of these was the Rarauhe, an edible fern root. The Maori had to rely on the plants that grew in NZ because the only plant they grew was the kumara. Many edible plants were found through trial and error. The plants and berries they found were mostly boiled or eaten raw. There were not a lot of ways to cook back then..

animals before european contact
Animals – Before European Contact

Animals that the Maoris or Polynesians brought to New Zealand were the Polynesian dog, or Kuri and the Polynesians rat, or the Kiore. They were killed for their meat, when the moa numbers started to deplete rapidly, their fur was used as clothing and insulation for warmth and their teeth used as ornaments and jewelry. Kuri were also useful during hunting. Kiore were a dangerous species for the birds and was one of the biggest threats to birds in New Zealand. Due to birds being in isolation for so long, their lost their ability to fly. They were very vulnerable on the ground. They were also not scared of predators. They were naive and was easily hunted and eaten. As a result of this, 21 species of birds became extinct by the kiore. The moa was a naive, flightless bird and because of lack of predators, it couldn’t tell who was dangerous and who wasn’t. The Moa were valuable to the Maori for a variety of reasons. Moa are easy to catch and has a lot of meat for food, as one moa drumstick is the size of a cows leg. The giant moa was and still is the largest bird on earth. One moa egg is many times bigger than a chicken egg. This meant that it was an excellent food source until it became extinct. Moas were also killed for other reasons. Their fur became clothing for warmth and cloaks and their bones were carved into jewelry, or made into weapons and tools.

plants after european contact
Plants – After European Contact

During their coastal journey, Cook’s crew planted potatoes in Doubtful Sound. Two years later, they were pleased to find the potatoes still growing. The Maori had quickly adapted to this new food, developing gardening techniques. Cook had also gave (or traded) cabbage, turnips and potatoes to N gāti Porou in Ūawa (Tolaga Bay). In the same year the French explorer Jean François Marie de Surville brought wheat, rice and peas to Doubtless Bay. Four years later, on Cook’s second voyage in 1773, he visited Ūawa again and dropped off pigs and potatoes. From 1803, Māori were reported trading in potatoes, pigs, maize and other foodstuffs.

animals after european contact
Animals – After European Contact

The Europeans introduced many different types of animals to Aotereoa. They introduced some animals such as cattle, sheep, goats and chickens for farming and introduced sparrows and dogs so that NZ would feel like home (Until they got eaten). Pigs was introduced by the Europeans and became a staple food f New Zealand. Due to their abundance in meat, and ability to reproduce quickly, they were hunted often by the Maori. But Europeans did bring some bad animals to NZ also. They introduced rabbits and possum for hunting, and introduced European rats and mice which became serious pests. These pests killed many species of New Zealand’s native birds

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