It's official. We have a bona fide Indian summer.

How do we know this?

All doubt was removed yesterday when a Gisborne man revealed he's still eating kamokamo.

The unseasonably protracted harvest of the squash, regarded as an East Coast ethnic heirloom, isn't the only apparent indicator of our endless summer. And while none will stand scrutiny as empirical meteorological evidence, further anomalies include untouched stacks of firewood, a flowering pohutukawa at Perfume Point, double-crops of beans and flies that have long overstayed their welcome.

Advertisement

But neither is the origin of the term Indian summer too scientific.

Some say "Indian" meant "false" by racist colonialists. Another theory states that it was so-called because it was first recorded in areas inhabited by Native Americans (incorrectly labelled "Indians") or it had been based on the warm and hazy conditions in autumn when native Americans hunted.

The title of Van Wyck Brooks' New England: Indian Summer suggests inconsistency, infertility, and "depleted capabilities, a period of seemingly robust strength that is only an imitation of an earlier season of actual strength".

So perhaps it's a ruse - albeit a nasty one, played by Mother Nature. Nasty because the false sense of personal comfort doesn't bode well for those on the land hoping to shore up pasture to carry farms through winter and early spring.

But then, unseasonal is only unseasonal to us - a species that favours, if not demands, strict weather patterns. We'd do well to remember that, as has been said before, the weather is always unrehearsed.