New reports on ruru nesting and Island conservation

Date posted: 02-Oct-2017

Two new reports have been added to the website. The first gives details of a summer students..

2018 calendars now available

Date posted: 27-Sep-2017

Our latest calendar, beautifully illustrated with images taken on the Island, is now available fo..

Guided walks for photographers

Date posted: 21-Jun-2017

For a wonderful day of wildlife photography please join us on Tiritiri Matangi Island for a Ph..

Ferry discounts for Supporters

Date posted: 18-May-2017

Tiritiri Matangi Island, the perfect winter's day trip. The birds are at their best, warm up w..

More kiwi for the Island

Date posted: 04-Apr-2017

In 1993 and 1995, sixteen little spotted kiwi were released on Tiritiri Matangi Island. The ma..

2017 Photo Competition

Date posted: 22-Mar-2017

It is that time of year again when we are looking for entries for our photo competition (and phot..

The 2017 concert

Date posted: 05-Feb-2017

This year's concert promises to be another wonderful and unique experience. Click here (/concert-..

Shorebird Film Festival at Devonport

Date posted: 26-Oct-2016

Click here (/miscellaneous documents/DevWaderFilms.jpg) for details of a forthcoming film festival c..

Extra Dawn Chorus Trip

Date posted: 20-Oct-2016

Stop Press: Extra Dawn Chorus trip now scheduled for Thursday 27th October 2016. ..

2016 AGM

Date posted: 06-Sep-2016

The 2016 AGM was held at the Kohia Centre at 7:30 pm on Monday 19th September. Click here (/..

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)