Why is Dargaville the Kumara Capital?

You’ll often hear of the phrase “The Kumara Capital of New Zealand”. And it makes us wonder, does everyone actually know where this is and the reason behind it?

Dargaville is the Kumara Capital of New Zealand. And it stands with good reason, as 95% of kumara you’ll find in your supermarket comes from the Kumara Capital.

Dargaville is a small farming town located 2 hours north of Auckland. Only a short 10 minutes from the West Coast and winding alongside the Northern Wairoa River, the land in the Dargaville region is typically quite flat.

Kumara growing in the Kaipara region dates right back to early Maori times where kumara was a long lasting crop for the tribes to store and they included it in their diets most of the year.

And do we really know why it is called the Kumara Capital?

Most will tell you it’s because of the shallow clay bed that makes up a lot of the land on the river plains near the Wairoa River. Kumara grow well in the alluvial plains of the northern Kaipara Region. Rich top-soil of the river plains is furrowed to a depth which ensure a good-looking well-shaped kumara crop. This shallow clay bed means the kumara, which is a root crop, grows to a good depth, before hitting the  clay layer.

Another reason is because the Kaipara region also has a very tropical climate, with warm summers and very mild winters. Kumara are a subtropical plant, grow best in tropical areas. The average temperature in the Kaipara is relatively high with our warm nights and high sunshine hours.  We typically have more sunshine than other parts of Northland even.