More plaudits for Tiritiri Matangi

Date posted: 15-Jul-2019

Recognition of the wonderful experience visitors have when visiting the Island h..

Results of the 2019 Photo Competition

Date posted: 15-Jul-2019

The results of this year's competition have now been decided. Click here (/2019-photo-co..

Lighthouse Open Day

Date posted: 30-Apr-2019

Our historic lighthouse, signal station and diaphonic foghorn will all be on dis..

We need a new Treasurer

Date posted: 08-Apr-2019

The Supporters need a new treasurer to take over in September when Kevin Vaughan..

2019 Concert

Date posted: 05-Feb-2019

OrigiNZ, the tartan taonga are returning for the 2019 concert. Click..

Tiri's three unique foghorns

Date posted: 01-Feb-2019

Our next social event will take place on Monday 18th March when Carl Hayson and ..

Young Conservation Superstars win awards!

Date posted: 27-Jan-2019

Gabriel Barbosa and teacher Kate Asher, a team leader who co..

Entries for the 2019 photo competition

Date posted: 19-Jan-2019

We are now taking entries for the 2019 photographic competition. You can enter u..

Hihi volunteer needed

Date posted: 18-Oct-2018

Would you like to volunteer with the Island's hihi team and learn from them how ..

2019 Calendars now available

Date posted: 05-Sep-2018

The new 2019 calendars are now available and this year's is better than ever! Th..

Karaka

Botanical name:  Corynocarpus laevigatus
Maori name:  Karaka
Height:  15 metres

Karaka ripe fruitKaraka is a handsome coastal canopy tree with leathery, glossy green leaves. Flowering is from late winter through spring. The small greenish flowers are perfect five parted and arranged in clusters. The fruit is a large fleshy orange drupe with a nut-like seed inside and ripens from mid summer to autumn.

The flesh of the fruit is edible and was eaten raw. The fresh kernels are highly toxic if consumed. Nevertheless karaka kernels were of great importance to Maori for food, second only to kumara. Before storing the kernels had to be carefully treated to remove all traces of poison (the alkaloid karakin).
 
This involved a long process of steaming or baking (up to 2 days) then they were transferred to loosely woven baskets and placed in running water. The baskets were occasionally shaken to remove husks and any remaining pulp. The sundried kernels were then stored. Karaka groves were often established around pa sites.

karakaKaraka fruit was a healthy and nutritious food source. The outer flesh contains the sugars sucrose and glucose, fatty acids and six of the eight essential amino acids. The treated kernels have a food value resembling oatmeal. Karaka leaves were used in traditional Maori medicine as wound dressings and the timber was used to fashion canoe paddles.

The very distinctive fleshy bright orange fruit was used by the Maori people for food. Unless treated properly though the kernel is deadly poisonous.  One of the few native trees cultivated by the Maori people.

Long term canopy tree.

Photography by
Peter Craw © - karaka pannicle (left) and by Neil Davies © (fruit, right)