Para (King Fern), Aotea Harbour, New Zealand

Finding para (kingfern) these days is cause for great celebration since the majestically grown plants are only found in hard to reach locations around Aotea. Nevertheless they are growing in Aotea to magnificent heights and are a spectacular sight to behold.
The horse-hoof shaped base was considered a great delicacy to eat.
The following steps describe how our kuia (Rangirangi Taylor) prepared the para for eating:
Look for a mature para. You can tell it is mature by the tuberous mass that has formed around the plant.
Break off the outer stems and cut the ‘hoof’ on a slant so that water will run off and the para can continue to grow (rot will set otherwise).
Clean the para as shown
Boil for at least four hours. Allow to cool and eat as if eating riwai (potatoes). Para has its own unique taste.
We would like to acknowledge and thank Rangirangi Taylor’s family for allowing us to use these images of her.

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