Oct 5: Grow a Kūmara House Plant

Grow a kūmara house plant.

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Below are some talking points and activities to pass the time, all relating to today’s story.

Talking points

Discuss the ideas presented in the story with your family—at home or over video conferencing. Find ways to involve as many people as possible, especially those who you know are isolated by the lock-down.

  • From whose point of view are the opening few paragraphs told? How does this influence how we read about the events? Why might the writer have chosen to tell the story this way?
  • In the picture of the Tahitians meeting the crew of The Endeavour, how do you think each party is portrayed? Does it seem to be a meeting of equals? Why or why not? In what ways do you think this depiction could be accurate and inaccurate?
  • Captain James Cook was instructed to sail to Tahiti to observe the Transit of Venus. Do you know what the Transit of Venus is? Visit this story to find out more about why Cook was sent on this mission: https://www.nzgeo.com/stories/transit-of-venus/
  • What strikes you about Tupaia’s chart of the Pacific Islands, and/or the illustration of the two men trading? Is there anything that intrigues you about Tupaia, that you would like to know more about?
  • In Tahiti, Cook opened sealed instructions from the British Admiralty to find any Southern lands and “observe the Nature of the Soil, and the Products thereof; the Beasts and Fowls that inhabit or frequent it, the fishes that are to be found”. What does this reveal about what the British believed they could do with any land they might become aware of? How did that belief come to influence the way they approached colonisation?

Activity: Grow a Kūmara House Plant

Get a kūmara started in water today and over the next few weeks, you can watch it develop into a stunning house plant!

You will need:

  • A kūmara
  • Two tooth picks, or a kebab stick broken in half
  • A jar of water

Step One: Take a kūmara and insert a toothpick on each side, about 1/3 or just above halfway down.

Step Two: Place the kūmara in a jar of clean water and put it on a windowsill or a shelf where you can enjoy watching it sprout roots and leaves. Within about two weeks you will have a budding house plant.

Step Three: Keep the water topped up and move it into a bigger jar once it has a full root system. Your kūmara house plant will cascade beautifully by itself, but you can also experiment with training it to climb up or along. It should last around six months if you keep the water topped up.

Send us a picture of your kūmara house plant!