Piwakawaka Mini Te Mära Reo ~ The Language Garden


"Site 5" Pöporo, Poroporo - Solanum aviculare

Here, nestled between two olive trees, is one of many plants of the poroporo tree, with its beautiful flowers and attractive foliage contrasting with the more sedate green foliage and inconspicuous flowers of many of its neighbours. This is our official representative of the Proto Central Pacific stage, and it and others of this species have been enthusiastically distributed through the garden by birds feasting on the berries. (Don't try to emulate the dietry habits of the avian gourmets before you read the cautionary notes on the Poroporo page [link opposite] -- the berries are poisonous when they are not fully ripe.)


From here, if you're in a hurry, you can carry on the way you came and go straight to the Proto Western Fijian / Polynesian stage, about 30 metres and a hundred years or less from where you're standing -- just turn left at the corner pictured at the bottom of the right hand column and start walking up the hill -- press the corresponding link at the bottom of this one to get there effortlessly. But we'd recommend that you take one of the alternative routes outlined below and visit Site 5B near the river before you leave this part of the garden.

The recommended route is via the lookout over the river in the northwest corner. The simplest way to get there is to walk back the way to got to the poroporo, turn left at the end, and follow the pathway to the bunyabunya and cypress.However, there are a lot of alternative routes -- just keep that columnular cypress (right of centre on the skyline below) as your landmark. Once you get to the river, follow the directions in the column opposite.

Another way is to go down the path more or less opposite where you're standing to the edge of the borrow pit, pictured below. (Borrow pits are places where up to the 18th and early 19th Century Mäori horticulturalists mined topsoil and volcanic sand and transferred it to other sites nearby where they had established their kumara gardens. There are a lot of them in this part of the Waikato.)

If you take the right fork around the borrow pit you can link up with a path on the eastern side of the pä harakeke which will take you to the path leading to the river lookout, or another (through the gap between the clumps) around the side of another borrow pit to the area near the gate pictured opposite.


Or, or you can get to the path along the southern boundary by taking a left fork.


That would lead you first to the same path which goes to the east of the pä harakeke further along to the south.


And if you are feeling very tired, but still want to do most of the tour, you can head diagonally across via the orchard and almost certainly through some long grass to the southwest corner, just beyond the stone pine (below, left). This really is a short cut -- about 35 metres; all the other routes are about 100 metres.


And in the corner, you'll be at location 5b -- third picture from bottom in the right-hand column.

From there, however you got there, follow the directions to put you on the path to Stage 6, and then press the appropriate link below.

Travelling on to the Eastern Fiji / Early Polynesia era -
Stage 6.

One way or another, you will now be ready to proceed to the next stage, almost contemporaneus with this one. It did not take long at all, maybe less than a hundred years, for our intrepid voyagers to move across, probably from the eastern part of Fiji (traditionally, with some scientific evidence to support the contention, from the mystical island of Pülotu) and settle with their pottery, traditions and language intact but steadily evolving in Tonga, and very shortly afterwards, Samoa.

To get there on your virtual journey, or, if you are feeling seasick, turn back towards Near Oceania, press the appropriate link below.

To go on to the Stage 6 Time Travel Page
(Eastern Fiji / Polynesia), click here!

To go back to Stage 4 Time Travel Page
(Proto Eastern Polynesian), click here!


"Time travel walk" - Stage 5

Proto Central Pacific (about 3,000 years ago)

It took only a hundred years for Austronesian speakers to begin settling the area around Fiji from the fringes of Eastern Oceania. It is during this period that a new common language, labelled for convenience "Proto Central Pacific", evolved; it would become the parent laguage of Rotuman and the the Fijian and Polynesian groups of languages respectively.

One of the plant names that has come from this period is poroporo, from the Proto Central Pacific word root *polo. It seems to have referred originally to several species of the nightshade family (Solanaceae to botanists),and the meanings of its reflexes in modern languages continue to reflect this. In Mäori it is the name for the three native species of Solanum, the two trees of very similar appearance, Solanum aviculare (also known as Pöporo, and by a number of other, unrelated, names) and S. laciniatum, and a native nightshade (S. nodiflorum). It was also applied to the introduced black nightshade, Solanum nigrum. You can read more about these plants and some of their counterparts with related names in other Austronesian languages on these two linked web pages:

*Polo (Proto-Polynesian form)

Poroporo (Modern Mäori)

You may remember from the site map that site 5b, thelocation of another poroporo is in the southwest corner of the garden, diagonally opposite to the left of where you are notionally standing now, if you have either stood still at site 4b, or gone along the path to Site 5. If you don't want to visit Site 5b, all you need to do is to walk further along the path at the foot of the bank that you've been following to Site 5, and start climbing back up the hill when you reach the end (there are photographs and directions at the end of this column). However, we'd recommend that you take the "river route" along the southern boundary, starting from the northwest corner, pictured here. Directions as to how to get there (or take alternative pathways to Site 5b) are in the left hand column.

River view

(This photo was taken at the end of October 2009, when the river was partly in flood -- the vegetation you can see in the water is normally on dry land, and there is a beach below that again.) From here, follow the fence line along past the gate.


And past the Queensland Kauri (Agathis robusta); this lost its still tender growing tip in a storm last year, but no doubt will provide itself with another.


And along through a grove of trees to the corner.


Look towards the river, and you will see the 5B poroporo.

Astelia grandis

From here, you can just head straight up the path along the southern boundary, past several tï, including this one.


Continue on past the trees on the corner.


About 20 metres from here you'll reach the next stage of your journey (links at the bottom of the left-hand column).



Hue flower

Te Mära Reo, c/o Benton Family Trust, "Tumanako", RD 1, Taupiri, Waikato 3791, Aotearoa / New Zealand
Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 New Zealand License.