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Title: Kumāra or potato? New Zealand’s contested larder.


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This paper will consider the contested ground of food awareness in New Zealand, which has resulted in a diverse culinary field. It took over 100 years after the signing of a treaty between representatives of Queen Victoria and the collective indigenous tribes of New Zealand (The Treaty of Waitangi) in 1840, before a local food identity could be distinguished from the influences of British colonisation. Lamb, potatoes, butter and scones were the base diet of New Zealanders until after World War II; but then the influences of visiting American servicemen, returning members of the armed forces and migrants from Europe coincided with the rise of radio and television personalities, to begin a revolution in food preferences and availability. Salads, biscuits, home-grown vegetables, coffee, with subsequent cafes and wine slowly grew in popularity. But it took a further half century before the crops and food practices of indigenous and Pacific people became accepted as mainstream, even national food.

The paper will reflect on these historical developments and changes which have resulted in contemporary New Zealand cooking that is inspired by Māori influences, in which the kumāra can take its place with pride.

Item Type: Paper presented at a conference, workshop, or other event which was not published in the proceedings
Additional Information: The New Zealand Studies Association has a long and strong history in promoting New Zealand Studies, which now extends within the region through its twice-yearly Journal of New Zealand and Pacific Studies. Building on the successes of the conferences in Lugano (2016), Vienna (2015), Oslo (2014), Nijmegen (2013), Gdansk (2012), Frankfurt (2009), Florence (2008), London (2007), and Paris (2006), this major event will be held at the University of Strasbourg. Proposals for 20 minute papers to be sent by 7 January to Ian Conrich ( Papers can consider all topics related to the Pacific and New Zealand, with priority given to papers that address the theme of ‘contested territories’. Interpretations of the theme are broad and can include colonialism, neo-colonialism, multiculturalism, museum collections, land/sea claims and usage, the Gothic, the environment and climate change, war and conflict. The conference fee includes annual membership to the NZSA, which for 2017 includes a twice-yearly journal. A selection of papers from the conference will be published in the refereed Journal of New Zealand and Pacific Studies, published by Intellect.
Uncontrolled Keywords: New Zealand Indigenous food, Kumara, potato, cookbooks
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DU Oceania (South Seas)
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Divisions: Schools > School of Media Arts
Depositing User: Gail Pittaway
Date Deposited: 22 Jan 2018 00:26
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2023 06:34

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