This paper presents estimates of yield for effort of the cultivar, ‘Taputini,’ which is a sweet potato that was eaten by the Māori of New Zealand before European contact in the 18th century. The two experimental archaeology gardens were planted at sites on either side of Cook Strait: the one with clay soils is on the South Island at Robin Hood Bay; the one with sandy soils is at Whatarangi on the North Island. The records of labor input required to cultivate these gardens over seven years for Robin Hood Bay and six years for Whatarangi compared with crop yields provide data on the economics of pre–European kū mara gardening. Also reported are some of the properties of the soil. These gardens produced an average of 12 metric tons (1,000 kilograms =1 metric ton) per hectare (ha), which is not much less than contemporary yields for modern cultivars and 3 to 4 times most previous estimates of pre-European production.
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