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:  Macropiper excelsum
Maori name:  Kawakawa
Common name:  Pepper Tree
Height:  6 metres

KawakawaA small, densely branched, aromatic tree with large heart shaped fleshy leaves. The trees are dioecious (separate male and female) their flowers lack petals and are arranged in spikes.  Ripe fruit on female plants is clustered on the central spike and looks like an orange candle.

had many medicinal uses for kawakawa.  An infusion of the leaves was used for bladder problems, boils, relief of pain or as a general tonic.  The leaves were chewed to relieve toothache and leaves and fruit were used as poultices for bruises or to make a smudge to keep insects away (burnt on a fire to make a thick acrid smoke). 

Nowadays dried kawakawa leaves are sold in specialty shops for making a herbal tea.

Genus Macropiper contains about 11 species in Polynesia, New Guinea and New Zealand.  They belong in the pepper family, Piperaceae.

Photography by Peter Craw © (male flowers, above right) and Warren Brewer © (ripe female fruit, below left).