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When is a potato not a potato? New Zealand couple’s world record dream smashed


Donna Craig-Brown with 'Doug'
Donna Craig-Brown with ‘Doug’

A New Zealand couple who believed they had dug up the world’s largest potato in the garden of their small farm near Hamilton have had their dreams turned to mash.

Guinness World Records wrote to say that scientific testing had found it was not, in fact, a potato at all, but a tuber of a gourd.

Colin Craig-Brown, who first hit the tuber with a hoe last August while gardening with his wife Donna, said it definitely looked and tasted like a potato. However, he added, that he has never tasted a gourd tuber.

“What can you say?” he said. “We can’t say we don’t believe you, because we gave them the DNA stuff.”

After months of submitting photos and paperwork, the couple got the bad news from Guinness in an email last week.

“Dear Colin,” the email said, “Sadly the specimen is not a potato and is in fact the tuber of a type of gourd. For this reason we do unfortunately have to disqualify the application.”

The couple had named their find Doug, which they took to spelling Dug, after the way it was unearthed.

“Doug”, originally believed to the world’s largest potato, on a kitchen bench at the home of Colin and Donna Craig-Brown near Hamilton, New Zealand (Colin Craig-Brown/AP)

The tuber became something of a local celebrity, after the couple began posting photos of it on Facebook, wearing a hat, and even built a cart to tow it around.

An official weigh-in at a local farming store put Dug at 17lb (7.8kg), equal to a couple of sacks of regular potatoes, or one small dog. The existing Guinness record will stand – a 2011 monster from Britain that weighed in at just under 11lb (5kg).

Mr Craig-Brown remains a big believer in Dug, which still sits in their freezer.

“I say ‘Gidday’ to him every time I pull out some sausages. He’s a cool character,” he said. “Whenever the grandchildren come round, they say ‘Can we see Dug?’”

“Dug is the destroyer from Down Under,” Mr Craig-Brown added. “He is the world’s biggest not-a-potato.”

He said he has not finished chasing the potato record.

Dug was self-sown but Mr Craig-Brown said that, with all his subsequent research into giant potatoes, he is ready to try to deliberately grow a record-breaking monster next season.

And this time, it will definitely be a potato.



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