Māori Plant Use

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Plant Use Details 

Discaria toumatou. Tūmatakuru. Matagouri.
FAMILY: Rhamnaceae Buckthorn family
BOTANICAL NAME: Discaria toumatou
MĀORI NAME: TŪMATAKURU, tūmatakura (Taylor 1870); tūmatakuri, tuturi, matakuru (all in Smith 1907)
COMMON NAME: matagouri; Wild Irishman
MEDICINAL: See Riley 1994 for information on medicinal uses of related plants elsewhere in the world.
DYES: Spines sometimes used for tattooing, though instruments of bone preferred (Colenso 1869a; Kirk 1889; Armstrong 1870)
DOMESTIC: Shortland's guide, Huruhuru, made him a pair of sandals from Cordyline leaves to protect his feet from the prickles of tūmatakuru, on the Waitaki Plains (Shortland 1851)
TRADITIONS: Tutekoropaka was chased to New Zealand and brought the okaoka (nettle), tātaraheka (lawyer), and tūmatakuru (wild Irishman). He planted them around his hiding place to enable him to elude his pursuers. Tama who canoed up and down the West Coast in search of his missing wives is also blamed for introducing prickly plants to that area. (Hone Taare Tikao, Rāpaki chief, to Beattie. MS 582/I/17 Hocken Archives, Dunedin). Similar tradition related by Anderson 1954