The Inaugural Niue Talo Festival took place last Friday at the Niue Golf & Sports Club hosted by the Niue Growers Association and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries (DAFF). The festival was the first of its kind for island.
The festival began with formalities in the morning hearing from a few speeches given by some of the core organisers and distinguished speakers such as the President of the Niue Growers Association Takili Talagi, Director of DAFF Poi Okesene, President of the Niue Hunter’s Association Api Vakaafi, Minister of Natural Resources Hon. Mona Ainu’u, Director General of Natural Resources Dr. Josie Tamate, and Premier Hon. Dalton Tagelagi.
According to the speeches of the day by growers, Niue has a total of 52 varieties of Taro and a total of 48 growers registered for participation on the day.
In his speech, Director of DAFF Poi Okesene said that they are working on compiling a book on Niue taro with the hopes to launch it in the next few years.
The four main varieties of Taro judged on the day were the Talo Lauila, Talo Manua, Talo Maganonu and Talo Fase.
The festival also included a showcase of the different Niue cuisines made from Taro such as the takihi, polo talo and talo dessert.
The three main judging categories included the best Niue taro cuisine, the weight of the taro and taro not yet ready to be harvested (talo moui). Topping category 1 for the “Talo Mahuiga/Moui” and category 3 for the weight of the taro and the specialty in variety of taro went to Tony Aholima. Also topping the weight of the taro and special taros category went to Enterprise Mautama.
For the Niue Taro Dishes, a total of 100 dishes entered on the day. There were seven categories judged in total. Topping the Takihi category was Mellisa Douglas. Some of the first placings for the categories include: for the Polo Talo first place went to Tina Tavita, for the Talo Dessert category the winner went to Renee Richardson, and for the Talo Main first place went to Haleluia Sionetuato.
For Special Prizes, coming in first place for the “Farmer with the Most Taro Varieties” went to San Juan Talagi.
“Farmer with the Heaviest Taro of the Day 2022” winner went to Deve Talagi for his Talo Manua Uli Avaava Tea. And first place equal for the “Woman Taro Farmer of the Day 2022 sponsored by NZ High Commission Helen Tunnah” went to Asalei Taiva and Poini Taufitu.
The overall winners for the “Taro Farmer of the Inaugural Niue Taro Festival 2022” for all categories went to first place Tony Aholima, second place San Juan Talagi and third placing went to Enterprise Mautama.
A historical event bringing all the people and growers together to showcase the pride of Niue taro.