PA2015_050.jpg Patu Aruhe. Collection of Puke Ariki (PA2015.050).

This patu aruhe was found in swamp land located on a farm on Ngāti Maru Road in Tikorangi. In 1978 the farm was sold and the owners moved away with various items from their time in Taranaki. In 2015 the family offered their items to Puke Ariki as they wanted them to return to their place of origin. 

‘Patu’ means to pound or strike and ‘aruhe’ is the Māori name for a type of edible bracken fern. In many areas of New Zealand aruhe was used as a staple food source and many tonnes were harvested each season. 

The swollen rhizome, or root, of the aruhe stored starches, proteins, and other nutrients but was known to be tough and fibrous which made it difficult to eat. After being cooked the aruhe was pounded with wooden mallets to separate the fibre from the edible pulp. The pulp could be used as dough or mixed to form a type of porridge.

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