Māori Plant Use

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Plant Use Details 

Aristotelia serrata. Makomako. Wineberry.
FAMILY: Elaeocarpaceae Oleaster family
BOTANICAL NAME: Aristotelia serrata
PREVIOUS NAMES: Aristotelia racemosa
COMMON NAME: wineberry
MEDICINAL: Strip bark, boil an hour or so, use as bath for rheumatism (Poverty Bay Federation of Women's Institutes Cookery Calendar ; mid 1930s)

Leaves boiled with a little water, liquid used on burns, and for rheumatism. Leaves also warmed on hot coals, applied and bandaged on burns - olive oil used to remove the dried leaves (Adams 1945).

Nearly fill a billy with leaves. Add enough water to cover the leaves. Boil till the water is coloured. Use for boils and burns. Bathe the boil or burn twice a day. (P. Smith 1940).

Leaves boiled, liquid used for sore eyes (H. Kahaki and K. Kahaki, Te Kaha ; H. Hei)

Infusion of bark of makomako soaked in cold water for sore eyes. (M. Withers 1941)

Leaves boiled, used as a pack for burns; infusion also applied (M. Stevens 1941).

Related pharmacology, see Brooker, Cambie and Cooper 1987.
FOOD: Berries eaten (especially by children) (Many informants, North and South Islands). Could also be squeezed to get a thick fluid like the tutu, which made a nice sweetish drink (Makereti 1938).
DYES: Contains tannin (Smith 1879).

Bark provides a blue-black dye (New Zealand Journal 1846; Colenso 1869a; Kirk, in Taylor 1870).

Bark bruised and steeped in water, produces a blue-black dye (White, from ms. in Dominion Museum, quoted in Aston 1918b ; Bretts Guide 1883 ; Reed and Brett's Almanac 1874).

Khaki dye (Wall, Cranwell 1943).
DOMESTIC: Bark sometimes used for small water vessels (Best 1903, 1942)
FISHING AND HUNTING: Poles used as handles for fishing nets. Light, but liable to break. Tānekaha or mānuka preferred.(Te Rangi Hiroa 1926)
ENVIRONMENT: A fast growing tree. Haase (1990) suggests it could be of interest to the pulp and paper industry, or used for restoration of mining sites, etc.
PASTIME: Best 1925: Sticks used in game called poi rākau among Ngāti Porou (Tuta Nihoniho). Poi occasionally made from light wood such as houama (whau) or mako. Saplings used for stilts.