Māori Plant Use

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About Ngā Tipu Whakaoranga - Māori Plant Use Database

What information is in Ngā Tipu Whakaoranga?

The database contains fully referenced, detailed information on how Māori used plants to survive in New Zealand, particularly before the arrival of Europeans. Material relating to later economic uses of native plants is recorded too, though generally not on timber uses and the kauri gum trade.

Fungi and seaweeds are included, and there are references to some Pacific plants, such as Pandanus, that have links to Māori culture.

Also included are pertinent references on traditional resource rights and intellectual property claims relating to plant uses by indigenous peoples.



The information is taken from the written record, mostly published (books, articles, newspapers) and some unpublished (such as manuscripts and letters).

Sources are noted for each item. Information is generally recorded as written in the source material, without interpretation. Editorial comment is sometimes made for clarification.


What does Ngā Tipu Whakaoranga mean?

Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori (the Māori Language Commission) suggested this name for the database. Ngā tipu are the plants (literally, growing shoots); in this context, whakaoranga means "to provide the livelihood, or to sustain" — thus, the plants that sustain us.


Every care has been taken to convey information accurately from the sources, but no representations are made as to the accuracy or validity of the primary data. Landcare Research does not accept responsibility for errors or omissions, or actions taken in reliance on the material in this database or consequences arising from the use of it.

The database is continually being developed and added to, and is by no means complete. We welcome items for inclusion and suggestions for improvement.

Contact us at NgaTipuWhakaoranga@landcareresearch.co.nz


The wealth of knowledge on New Zealand plants that is contained in this database has been built up over centuries of careful observation and experimentation. We thank and acknowledge those who gave freely of their learning and those who recognised its value and recorded it.

He tangi tenei ki a ratou o te ao kōhatu; he whakamaharatangā ki nga taonga i whakarerea mai e rātou ki ngā whakatipuranga hei tiaki, hei manaaki. Na rātou te ihi, te mana, me te wehi; na mātou te kawenga.

This is an acknowledgement to those of the old world, a memorial to the treasures they bequeathed us (the various generations) to look after and cherish. Theirs is the power, the prestige, and the awe; ours is the responsibility to preserve.

Sue Scheele researched and compiled all the information, annotated the references, and formatted and typed all text.

Margaret Anderson and Mark Fuglestad with the assistance of Nick Spencer and Karen Scott did the technical work involved in getting this version of the database online. Anouk Wanrooy helped design the home page. Mike Gough and Jason Watts at Wordstream Corporation gave advice and assistance in compiling the earlier version of the database and were responsible for its first appearance on the Web. Special thanks to Murray Parsons who has alerted us along the way to various references and points of interest.

Tēnā koutou, Tēnā koutou, Tēnā koutou katoa.


How to cite Ngā Tipu Whakaoranga

This database may be cited in references as:

Ngā Tipu Whakaoranga database,

Record (ID number), accessed on (date)
The ID number is listed at the end of each record.