A blog maintained by Tevita Kete, PGR Officer

Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Suva, Fiji Islands



This weblog documents the activities of Pacific Agricultural Genetic Resources Network (PAPGREN), along with other information on plant genetic resources (PGR) in the Pacific.

The myriad varieties found within cultivated plants are fundamental to the present and future productivity of agriculture. PAPGREN, which is coordinated by the Land Resources Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), helps Pacific countries and territories to conserve their crop genetic diversity sustainably, with technical assistance from the Bioversity International (BI) and support from NZAID and ACIAR.

SPC also hosts the Centre of Pacific Crops and Trees (CEPaCT). The CEPaCT maintains regional in vitro collections of crops important to the Pacific and carries out research on tissue culture technology. The CEPaCT Adviser is Dr Mary Taylor (MaryT@spc.int), the CEPaCT Curator is Ms Valerie Tuia (ValerieT@spc.int).




PAPGREN coordination and support

  • CTA
  • SPC
  • CEPaCT

     genebank locations
    Click on the thumbnail to see a map of the locations of Pacific genebanks. Click here to download a regional directory of genebanks in the Pacific, including information on their location, contact details and holdings.

    PAPGREN partners

    Mr William Wigmore
    Director of Research
    Ministry of Agriculture
    Department of Resources & Development
    P.O. Box 96
    Cook Islands
    Tel: (682) 28711-29720
    Fax: (682) 21881
    Email: cimoa@oyster.net.ck

    Mr Adelino S. Lorens
    Agriculture Pohnpei
    Office of Economic Affairs
    P.O. Box 1028
    Pohnpei 96941
    Federated States of Micronesia
    Tel: (691) 3202400
    Fax: (691) 3202127
    Email: pniagriculture@mail.fm

    Dr Lois Englberger
    Island Food Community of Pohnpei
    Research Advisor
    P.O. Box 2299
    Pohnpei 96941
    Federated States of Micronesia
    Email: nutrition@mail.fm

    Mr Apisai Ucuboi
    Director of Research
    Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries & Forest
    Koronivia Research Station
    P.O. Box 77
    Fiji Islands
    Tel: (679) 3477044
    Fax: (679) 3477546-400262
    Email: apisainu@yahoo.com

    Dr Maurice Wong
    Service du Developpement Rural
    B.P. 100
    Tahiti 98713
    French Polynesia
    Tel: (689) 42 81 44
    Fax: (689) 42 08 31
    Email: maurice.wong@rural.gov.pf

    Mr Tianeti Beenna Ioane
    Head, Research Section
    Division of Agriculture
    Ministry of Environment, Lands and Agricultural Development
    P.O. Box 267
    Tel: (686) 28096-28108-28080
    Fax: (686) 28121
    Email : agriculture@tskl.net.ki; Beenna_ti@yahoo.com

    Mr Frederick Muller
    Ministry of Resources & Development
    P.O. Box 1727
    Majuro 96960
    Marshall Islands
    Tel: (692) 6253206
    Fax: (692) 6257471
    Email: rndsec@ntamar.net

    Mr Herman Francisco
    Bureau of Agriculture
    Ministry of Resources & Development
    P.O. Box 460
    Koror 96940
    Tel: (680) 4881517
    Fax: (680) 4881725
    Email: bnrd@pnccwg.palaunet.com

    Ms Rosa Kambuou
    Principal Scientist PGR
    NARI Dry Lowlands Programme
    Laloki Agricultural Research Station
    P.O. Box 1828
    National Capital District
    Papua New Guinea
    Tel: (675) 3235511
    Fax: (675) 3234733
    Email: kambuou@global.net.pg

    Ms Laisene Samuelu
    Principal Crop Development Officer
    Crops Division
    Ministry of Agriculture, Forests, Fisheries & Meteorology
    P.O. Box 1874
    Tel: (685) 23416-20605
    Fax: (685) 20607-23996
    Email: lsamuelu@lesamoa.net

    Mr Jimi Saelea
    Director of Research
    Department of Agriculture and Livestock
    P.O. Box G13
    Solomon Islands
    Tel: (677) 27987

    Mr Tony Jansen
    Planting Materials Network
    Kastom Gaden Association
    Burns Creek, Honiara
    P.O. Box 742
    Solomon Islands
    Tel: (677) 39551
    Email: kastomgaden@solomon.com.sb

    Mr Finao Pole
    Head of Research
    Ministry of Agriculture & Forests
    P.O. Box 14
    Tel: (676) 23038
    Fax: (676) 24271
    Email: thaangana@hotmail.com

    Mr Frazer Bule Lehi
    Head of Research
    Department of Agriculture & Rural Development
    Private Mail Bag 040
    Port Vila
    Tel: (678) 22525
    Fax: (678) 25265
    Email: flehi@hotmail.com

    Other links

    Other CROP agencies
    Forum Secretariat
    University of the South Pacific

    Pacific biodiversity
    Biodiversity hotspots
    Breadfruit Institute
    Hawaiian native plants
    Intellectual property rights
    Nature Conservancy
    WWF South Pacific Program

    Other Pacific organizations
    Foundation of the Peoples of the South Pacific
    Micronesian Seminar
    Te Puna web directory

    Pacific news
    Cafe Pacific
    CocoNET Wireless
    Island Directory
    Pacific Islands News
    Pacific Islands Report
    Pacific Islands Travel
    Pacific Time
    South Pacific travel
    Time Pacific

    Interested in GIS?



    Tuesday, September 26, 2006

    Funky Things with Poi

    From Spirit of Aloha Features, September/October 2006.

    By Rita Ariyoshi

    Great chefs tackle the flavors of East Maui

    "The further a Hawaiian gets from the taro, the less Hawaiian he is," John Lind said as he stomped in the mud, then bent over cradling a taro plant in one hand and expertly pulling it with the other. Like the rest of us, he was barefoot and adorned in mud to his thighs. The difference was that John pulled two or three plants to our one, because taro was his life, his passion, and he knew it well. The rest of us were Saturday farmers, dabbling in the terraces, the lo'i, as part of an epicurean adventure staged by the casually luxe Hotel Hana-Maui.

    Food and wine festivals pop up all over the calendar these days, like champagne corks at a big wedding. I signed on for "Hana-A Reflection of Place: The Flavors of East Maui," because I knew anything happening in Hana would be unique.
    And there I was, playing in the mud and loving it, my Prada sneakers parked in the grass beside the lo'i.

    One Saturday farmer, mud beneath her manicure, said, "It's like working with chocolate. The mud has such marvelous viscosity."

    A large Hawaiian man on holiday from his executive day- job said, "It's like a spa treatment. If I didn't have to get back in the van, I'd flop right down on my back and really enjoy it."

    This was the excursion for Day Two of our culinary caper. With John's wife, Tweetie, as our guide, we had hiked uphill through dense green forest from the Kipahulu Visitor Center in Haleakala National Park to Kapahu Living Farm.

    John and Tweetie are part of the Kipahulu 'Ohana, a nonprofit organization formed in 1995 by Native Hawaiians with genealogical ties to Kipahulu.
    They have a working partnership with the National Park Service to restore the ancient taro lo'i that once flourished at Kipahulu. They also promote traditional Hawaiian culture and develop culturally sensitive economic opportunities for the area. To accomplish all this, they have regularly scheduled workdays involving the Hana-Kipahulu community in the lo'i. Groups of senior citizens, schoolchildren, troubled youth and court-ordered, community-service workers come from all over Maui to learn and participate.

    Tweetie is a 58-year-old grandmother with long grey-black hair. She regularly hikes with visitors from the park base to the farm. Her roots in this part of Maui go back 10 generations. When she spoke of Kipahulu, tears filled her eyes: "In the old days, before Safeway, the Hawaiian was the land, the land was him. He came from the taro, from land and water.
    Aloha 'aina-love of the land- is a complete relationship with your sustenance."

    This intimate connection of people with their food and the land from which it came was a recurring theme of the Hana food festival. Lily Boerner, who owns Ono Organic Farm with her husband, Chuck, said, "The family farm is the heart of the world. Good food, humanely raised, is of vital national importance. What we put on our land affects our neighbor, our neighbor's water, our neighbor's garden. If we used chemicals on our crops, the reef in the ocean would be ruined, the pools along the way would be polluted. We have to malama [care for] the land.
    You can walk barefoot in our fields and not get sick." Area farmers, she said, have agreed that Kipahulu is a GMO-free zone. GMO means genetically modified organism. She urges people to buy from local family farms and to frequent farmers' markets. "The average food product in the store travels an average of 1,500 miles."
    Chuck and Lily have been married and working together for 25 years. They grow 50 or 60 kinds of crops on land Lily calls "a slightly organized jungle." She bragged, "We throw away one garbage can a week and that goes to a friend's pig."

    Twice a week, on Monday and Thursday afternoons, the Boerners welcome visitors for a farm tour, which includes exotic-fruit tastings. What you sample depends on the season. We tried juicy lychee, papaya, three kinds of mango, cherimoya, soursop and a strange fruit called choco, which tasted like root beer. "We're trying to perfect cinnamon and chocolate," Lily said. We also sampled fudge Lily had made that morning from her own cacao beans. The Boerners will be rich and beloved if they can do to chocolate what they did to jack fruit.

    Their fortitude comes naturally. Chuck's 95-year-old mother makes jams and jellies from the farm's fruit. On Thursdays, Chuck drives her to Hana, where she sits beside the road and sells her now-famous strawberry jam. Chuck goes surfing and picks up his mom and her profits on the way home.

    Lily does the marketing for the crops. "I'm on the phone twice a week to the local chefs. 'Hi,"
    I say, 'We've got mountain apples. You can make crisps.' Every chef wants to have a cutting edge on the other chefs."

    David Patterson, executive chef at Hotel Hana-Maui, said, "The farmers and fishermen are fellow culinarians. They inspire the food. It's easy for us in Hawai'i to have really healthy food with all the fresh fruits and vegetables and the fish out of the water only a couple of hours.
    When it's that easy, it becomes hard to make bad food. You have to break away from that deep fryer."

    The dinner menu in the hotel's Kau'iki Dining Room changes nightly to take advantage of the freshest ingredients. One evening's specials included onaga caught by the Lind family, asparagus from O'ahu prepared with Maui Meyer lemon and local olive oil, bamboo shoots from Kipahulu, vegetables from David Ishii's farm in Kula, and Surinam cherries from the hotel grounds.

    Patterson said: "A fisherman will call me on the phone. 'Hey, I've got a hundred pounds of mahi.'
    I love that. It's a dream. My sous chef, Troy Baker-Sato, is teaching me to spear fish. I love to find out about weird tropical fruits. The Meyer lemons came from lower Nahiku. Then, I got a call from a guy who said his tree had 5,000 pounds of lemons. David and Dora Ishii are raising crops for me. I talked to them and said I needed to find someone to grow beets. Now they harvest 10 pounds a week, plus cauliflower, broccoli and tomatoes. They're really excited.

    "I used to be happy doing mashed potatoes," added David. "Now? I do funky things with poi. I want to use the people's food, to complement what's happening in Hana. Local people are passionate about their food. You feel the connection. I'd be crazy to come here and make soufflés and foie gras."

    For the opening dinner of the food festival, David and his staff prepared an amuse bouche of Kipahulu pumpkin-tip tempura with Big Island wasabi root and dashi foam. The soup was Kipahulu corn soup with oranges and begonias, followed by a salad of Laulima Farms butter lettuce with lacy, crispy crostini. Raw fish came next in the form of Hana-caught ahi tartare with local vegetable crudités and ginger aioli. The main course was another Hana-caught fish, mahimahi, served with taro and coconut-lime sauce. Dessert, prepared by David's wife, Aima, the pastry chef, was coconut mousse and corn cake.

    It was only the opening salvo of evening feasts that ran to a dozen or more courses, all paired with appropriate wines. Prominent guest chefs, invited for the occasion, went wild with local ingredients, creating innovative dishes. "We gave them free rein," David said.

    With great energy and enthusiasm, each chef discussed the dishes he had prepared, as they were served.

    Susur Lee, one of the world's leading chefs, originally from Hong Kong and lately of Toronto, opened his eponymous restaurant, Susur, in 2000.
    He was so taken with Hawaiian ingredients that he put 19 of them in his salad. "I tried to use everything-taro, apricots, ume."

    The salad course was a sensation, the talk of the evening, overshadowing Susur's monchong with macadamia nuts, and even his Emperor's Rice Pudding with eggfruit and coconut, Kona coffee and Kahlua sorbet. Of the dessert, Susur said, "I thought I knew everything on Earth about fruit.
    But eggfruit? It really tastes like egg yolk."

    Chef Edward Tuson from the Sooke Harbour House in British Columbia looked every inch the eccentric chef, with an Abe Lincoln beard and a Mohawk haircut. His was the third course, supposed to be a chilled star apple and kaffir lime soup, but, Tuson said, "It got thicker when it got cold, so what you've got is a 'blomb' kind of limey." We all wondered what he meant by that. Sitting in the center was a roll of thinly sliced Kobe beef with watermelon, celery sprouts and lime jelly.
    The sound of spoons delicately scraping the last drop from bowls was testimony that, soup or blomb, it was exquisite.

    Chef Craig von Forester from Sierra Mar Restaurant at Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur, Calif., echoed the thoughts of others on the relationship of people to their food. "There's a vibrance in fresh food. I was prawning the other night with the other visiting chefs. It's amazing that none of us were speared. You go out at night with a flashlight shining in the water and the eyes of the fish glow back at you. We built a fire on Hamoa Beach and cooked them. Seeing how local people care about what they're eating, it all starts there. When I lived here 16 years ago, I hoped one day I could stay in a place like this hotel." He added, "Back then, most of restaurant and hotel food came from the Mainland and all the chefs were German or French doing classic continental cuisine. Hawai'i has come a long way."

    Craig is passionate about his career. "If you're not giddy about what you're doing, do something else. A lot of culinary grads don't take time to develop a palate. They've got all that book knowledge in their heads, but not their hands.
    Your hands have to feel the physical aspect of the ingredients. Without sounding too Big-Surish, the old chefs are aware of the spiritual aspects of food. We are linked to our food."

    Cal Stamenov believes in the link. At his Marinus Restaurant at Bernadus Lodge in Carmel, Calif., he has his own vineyard out front and 3 acres of garden. "I love farming. It's my hobby." It was his first time in Hana, but, as he said, "I never want to leave. Everything grows so fast. The people are so nice and sincere."

    He added, "What I noticed is there's a growing culinary scene here. Once the farmers kick in, it will really snowball. It's all moving in that direction."

    Family farms are dear to him. "They put so much more care into what they grow, as opposed to conveyor belt farming."

    That care was evident in every one of the 13 courses served that evening at the festival dinner. The sixth course was Cal's mahimahi with white miso and taro leaves, paired with Roccolo Grassi, Amarone, Venetro, Italy, 2000. Other memorable courses were the 11th, Big Island rack of lamb and Laulima Farm arugula; the 12th, Upcountry goat cheese with a fennel tart tatin; and dessert, Kula lemon verbena ice cream with mango, lime and tapioca.

    Cal summed up the experience of the guest chefs:
    "I thought I was coming here to be an inspiration to others. However, the people of Hana have been more of an inspiration to me."

    Then I remembered what John Lind had said, quietly, with his characteristic humility. "We're sons and daughters of God, trying to create Heaven on Earth."

    Kipahulu 'Ohana
    PO Box 454, Hana, HI 96713
    Fax 248-8802

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