Zirsha Wharemate

Doctor of Philosophy, (Nutritional Science)
Study Completed: 2015
College of Health


Thesis Title
Investigations into the Nutritional and Sensory Potential of Taewa (Maori Potatoes)

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Taewa, a group of potato cultivars belonging to the Solanum tuberosum family, have had considerable cultural significance for the Maori peoples of New Zealand for over 200 years. In addition to their value as unique heritage food, Taewa exhibit a considerable range of tuber and culinary characteristics which suggests their nutritional, sensory and potential health value is diverse and worthy of investigation. Through analysing aspects of nutritional, non-nutrient composition and health value assessments (increased resistant starch and antioxidant potential), Ms Wharemate found that all four Taewa varieties analysed had qualities of promising nutritional and health value. Data gathered from Taewa consumers (25 focus group, 209 survey and 56 sensory evaluation participants) helped gauge current interest, identify valued characteristics and sensory preferences with regard to varietal types, cooking and eating practices and assisted preliminary developments of a Taewa product boasting improved health benefits. 

Associate Professor Kay Rutherfurd-Markwick
Associate Professor David Thomas
Professor Chris Cunningham
Professor Jane Coad