The humble kūmara

The humble kūmara. In the right hands, a taste sensation. Even in the wrong hands, hands like mine, the sweet and luscious kumara flavour is still difficult to destroy.

So, when I spotted a poster on display featuring a picture of a kumara at a LIANZA Conference I attended last year, I promised myself I would revisit that poster. I did, but not till much later after the Conference had concluded. And I’m glad I did.

The subject of the poster, “How do you find kumara in the library?” highlights an issue for Māori users of libraries – the ability to locate information and resources in the library using terms familiar to Māori. And kumara, believe it or not, was a subject term that didn’t exist up until quite recently.

Intrigued, I contacted the author and invited her to contribute to the K.I.N blog.

Her response: “But I don’t have a PhD.”
My response: “Neither do I!”

Once we got that initial hurdle out of the way, her enthusiasm took over and before I knew it, I had a blog post in 3 parts. A trilogy if you will. As a result, I will be posting my thoughts on who would win in a Superman vs Batman battle (Spoiler alert: Batman) or my contribution to The Altar of Gratitude, at a later date.

Instead, starting from tomorrow, I will let Melissa’s journey of discovery take centre stage over the course of the week. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

The Kumara image is courtesy of Llez licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0


Manuhiri works at Te Tumu Herenga, the University of Auckland Libraries and Learning Services. With an undergraduate business degree and a postgraduate library degree, she has been a business librarian for over 15 years. As a librarian she has learned to value knowledge in all its forms - books, artworks, social media, the carvings on the walls of a meeting house, the wisdom in the minds of our older generation. Create, learn, engage, share. Because it is all taonga (valued objects). Inspired by the Māori and indigenous academics and PhD students in the Business School, this year she enrolled as an MCom student. Her research topic is Māori leadership communication. She is primarily interested in how communication shapes and influences decision-making and what this means in terms of outcomes for Māori. With a father of Ngāti Kauwhata descent and a mother from Ngāti Tūwharetoa, growing up her home was often the scene for mock verbal battles of tribal dominance. Mum was the victor in most encounters, but dad had control of the TV remote. So everyone was a winner at the end of the day. Some day she would like to be the owner of a Newfoundland puppy.

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