Māori Plant Use

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Plant Use Details 

Nothofagus fusca. Tawai raunui. Red beech.
FAMILY: Fagaceae Beech family
BOTANICAL NAME: Nothofagus fusca
MĀORI NAME: tawhai, tawai, tawhai raunui, hutu, hututawai (all in Williams 1971. Recorded by Best, Colenso), hutu-tawhai (Conservator of State Forests 1877)
COMMON NAME: black beech (birch) ; red beech (birch) ; tooth-leaved beech Conservator of State Forests 1877
NOTES: '' The true black birch is a noble tree, found from Kaitaia ... to Otago, but often local and absent from extensive districts. ... This species [Nothofagus fusca] is almost invariably termed black birch in Auckland and Otago, red birch in Wellington and Nelson .... In fact, the term 'birch' may be regarded as a generic name applied by bushmen to any small-leaved tree, and qualified with the prefixes 'black', 'white', or 'red', at the caprice of the individual....'' (Conservator of State Forests 1877)
DYES: Contains tannin (Smith 1879). Used for tanning (Aston 1918b)
CONSTRUCTION: Timber not greatly useful. Boat-knees, cask staves (Colenso 1869a).
FISHING AND HUNTING: Chip of tawhai used as bait for barracouta (Colenso 1869b).