Piwakawaka Mini Te Mära Reo ~ The Language Garden
*Töï [Proto-Polynesian, possibly from an earlier Proto Central Pacific word]



Cordyline indivisa ["mountain cabbage tree" ] (Agavaceae)

Other inherited names: (see separate page)


The name töï may well be a local invention, but in the absence of definitive information to the contrary, we are treating it as a reflex of the Proto-Polynesian word *Toi (no long vowels), which in many Polynesian languages refers to another denizen of the mountains, the botanically quite different tree Alphitonia zizyphoides.

The töï is a very beautiful tree, also known as kapu, tï-kapu, tï-kupenga, and tï-matuku-tai. Like the other members of the genus Cordyline, it is one of the group known collectively as (tii), and three of its other names are simplify modifications of that word root.

Töï is found naturally in mountain areas with rich soil and high rainfall. It reaches a height of up to 10 metres, and the leaves can be up to two metres in length. Although the cultivated tï pore (Cordyline fruticosa), brought to Aotearoa from the Pacific, was much preferred as a food in those districts where it flourished, in earlier times both the young tender shoots and the core of the trunk of töï and other species of Cordyline were cooked and eaten, in emergencies and to mark a special occasion. The renewed interest in traditional food and "bush tucker" has also given contemporary New Zealanders a chance to sample such foods.

At present (October 2009) we do not have Töï growing in Te Mära Reo.



Toi_NZ Cordyline indivisa
Mount Ruapehu


PPN: *Toi Alphitonia zizyphoides (Rhamnaceae)
Mäori Reflex: Töï (Cordyline indivisa - [Agavaceae])

Tongan: Toi (A. zizyphoides)
Niuean: Toi (A. zizyphoides)
Samoan: Toi (A. zizyphoides)
Tahitian: Toi (A. zizyphoides)
Rarotongan: Toi (A. zizyphoides)

Note: The status of the Mäori reflex is problematic - see the page for the Proto-Polynesian source word (link at the top of this page) for more information.




Source of photograph: Töï -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki (Photographer: "Tanetahi").



Hue flower

Te Mära Reo, c/o Benton Family Trust, "Tumanako", RD 1, Taupiri, Waikato 3791, Aotearoa / New Zealand
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