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..

Winners of kokako photo competition

Date posted: 02-Sep-2018

The stunning winning photographs from those submitted to the competition as part..

Kokako Celebration

Date posted: 21-Jul-2018


Kokako Photographic Competition

Date posted: 20-Jul-2018

KĊŒKAKO PHOTOGRAPHIC COMPETITION Celebrating 21 years on Tiritiri Matangi To ce..

New monitoring reports published

Date posted: 19-Jul-2018

Reports on monitoring studies carried out over the past year have now been poste..

2018 Concert coming up soon

Date posted: 15-Feb-2018

Our 2018 concert will feature an afternoon of light classics and jazz courtesy of the Auckland Ph..

Wetapunga talk coming soon

Date posted: 05-Feb-2018

For the Social on 19 March the speaker will be Ben Goodwin of Auckland Zoo, who will talk about t..

Rat caught and now takahe released from pens

Date posted: 28-Jan-2018

Thankfully DOC staff Andre de Graaf and Polly Hall and their assistants have trapped the rat whic..

Your Christmas Shopping for a Song

Date posted: 04-Dec-2017

Aka - The Grand Christmas Shopping Expedition to Tiritiri Matangi Island Shop Dreading..


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)