• March 20, 2017
Mangere Food Centre in Mangere Town Centre is the only place that sells Niuean taro in Auckland. Photo: Brandon Ulfsby
Niuean taro has made a return to the shelves and the stomachs of many, but the humble vegetable has come at a cost.
The Niuean taro is being sold at the Mangere Food Market for $12.99 per kg - more than twice the price of the Fijian and Samoan equivalent.
Samoan and Fijian taro selling at less than half the price of the Niuean variety. Photo: Brandon Ulfsby
Managing director for the Mangere Food Market, Vutha Hang said transport costs are to blame.
“Reason why it’s more expensive is because they send it via plane, if they send it via boat then it’ll be cheaper.”
Mr Hang was approached by Shopexports & Freight Ltd to sell the product. Others had declined the offer, he said.
“For me I’ll try, if the people buy it then I’ll carry on and sell it, but if people don’t buy it then I have to stop.”
Mangere Food Market located in Mangere Town Centre. Photo: Brandon Ulfsby
Shopexports & Freight Ltd which imports the taro for Mangere Food Market, claims on its Facebook page that the produce supports growers in Niue.
Niuean ex-pats claim their country’s product is of a superior quality than other Pacific varieties.
Fotu Jackson, a Pacific engagement manager at AUT University, said from her extensive knowledge of the Pacific she believes Niuean taro is one of the best.
“I think Niuean taro has a lot more taste, the texture is different than other taro from the Pacific - and I say that as a Samoan,” said Mrs Jackson.
Mrs Jackson said the soil in Niue is very rich, and believes this contributes to the uniqueness of the Niuean variety.
Mr Hang said a lot of customers come into his store and look for the taro but only a few actually buy it.
Mrs Jackson said despite the price of the Niuean taro, it was worth it.
“I was actually one of the people who drove to buy the taro.”
Mrs Jackson said there aren’t many places you can buy Niuean taro, whereas the Fijian and Samoan variety is extensive throughout the country.
“When it comes to New Zealand it’s really popular, it’s highly demanded.”
Repeated efforts by Te Waha Nui to get comment from Shopexports & Freight Ltd have not been successful.