Posted by: rivettingkatetaylor | March 17, 2010

the humble swede

Today’s mumbling is all about the humble swede.

And before you day Swede should have a capital letter, we’re not talking about the Scandinavian variety but the grow-in-the-ground southern swede.


Gore has its Moonshiners Festival, Bluff has the Oyster Festival, now Mataura is planning to develop a signature event around another southern icon – the humble swede, says the Stuff website (courtesy of the Southland Times). The Swede Fest, tentatively set down for early July, would feature a swede-rolling competition and a banquet, with swedes, naturally, the main dish on the menu. There would also be jack-o-lanterns carved out of swedes for table decorations.

Why not. I love swedes and miss them! You can buy swedes in the North Island but they are the size of softballs and taste about the same as one.

I hate the fact Air New Zealand now charge for over weight baggage as it means I can’t steal three or four basketball sized southern swedes in my suitcase whenever I go home (good thing there’s no customs between the islands though! they might steal my swedes, let alone my nail polish – see post about missing Rarotonga!)

The name of my town, Takapau, translates to flax mat. Maybe we could have a flax weaving festival. We could all wear flax dresses, drink award-winning Junction Vineyard pinot noir (another famous Takapau product) from flax mugs and sit on flax mats with flax shade sails protecting us from the hot Central Hawke’s Bay sun.

But I digress. (Surprise surprise.)

Swedes.  Best served mashed with a drop of golden syrup or brown sugar. Or au naturale with a drop of salt… preferably picked from the paddock and with chunks hewn from the plant with an old pocket knife. Now that brings back memories. Hopefully I’m riding the old Honda three-wheeler while trying to dodge chores. (Bet that sounds familiar Mum!)

Rumour has it, North Islanders should put their swedes for a short holiday in the freezer to replicate a good old southern frost. True or false?

Okiedokie so that wa my first foray into polls on wordpress.  (And I am not saying southerners invented sliced bread – although they’d claim it if they thought they could?) 

Let’s see how it goes!

Swede anyone?

In the meantime, the consultant formulating the new-look direction for the town will be paid $19,800 for the initial phase ($1365 a day). I want to be a consultant.



  1. Mother must have taught you something about cooking swede!!!

  2. Swedes were given to speakers at a conference in Southland. Not everyone appreciated them because some left them in rubbish bins at the airport.

  3. […] The humble swede – Rivetting Kate Taylor in praise of the vegetable which fuels southern stock & people. […]

  4. always had a belief that a sack of spuds, a sack of southland swedes and a few kilos of corn beef would be about the best survival rations a man would need.
    Could be all cooked in one pot in emergency.

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