Your Christmas Shopping for a Song

Date posted: 04-Dec-2017

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

2018 Photo Comp opens for entries

Date posted: 27-Nov-2017

The 2018 Photo Competition is now open for entries. Click here (/2018-photo-competition-tiritiri-mat..

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..


Botanical name:  Alectryon excelsus
Maori name:  Titoki
Common name:  New Zealand Ash
Height:  10 metres

TitokiA handsome shiny-leaved tree found in coastal and lowland forest in the North Island and to the middle of the South Island.

Flowering is in spring and the fruit takes up to a year to mature, forming a furry woody capsule.  When ripe the capsule splits open revealing a shiny black seed partly enclosed by a convoluted bright red aril (fleshy covering) which resembles a cock’s comb.  Alectryon means rooster in Greek.  This provides food for native pigeons and other birds.

Maori extracted an oil from pounded titoki seeds. This was often scented with crushed leaves of manuka or kawakawa and applied to the body or used to gloss the hair.


Titoki belongs in the soap berry family (Sapindaceae) which includes the fruit tree lychee (Litchi chinensis) from Southern China.

Photography by Neil Davies (leaves, right) © and Warren Brewer © (flowers below left, fruit below right).