Early Europeans recorded on the order of eighty names for sweet potatoes across Māori-land (now called Aotearoa New Zealand). Some referred to color or horticultural variation. Others were regional or dialectically different. Still, sweet potatoes were the primary calorie source year in and year out for pre-contact Māori.

I was surprised that our local Whole-Paycheck (several grocery chains receive this nickname) had four different kinds, each a different color. This was called purple sweet potato on the sign.


  1. Mary Jo says:

    Having been the primary calorie source for the pre-contact Maori, they are extremely expensive here now! $12 to 15 NZ dollars a kilo ($7 to 9 US per 2.2 pounds). Compared to white, yukon or red potatoes, about half the price or less! And I’ve seen only about 3 varieties.

  2. Sammy says:

    Wow! That is expensive. Interesting that they seem to have fallen out of favor….