Māori Plant Use

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Plant Use Details 

 
Passiflora tetrandra. Kōhia. New Zealand passionfruit. Main reference.
FAMILY: Passifloraceae Passion-flower family
BOTANICAL NAME: Passiflora tetrandra
PREVIOUS NAMES: Tetrapathaea tetrandra
MĀORI NAME: KŌHIA, kāhia, kohe, kaimanu, kūpapa, pōwhiwhi (Taylor 1847, 1855 records pōwiwi); aka (the vine of a number of climbing plants) thus: akakaikū, akakaikūkū, akakūkū, akakaimanu, akakōhia, akatororaro. Also pōhue, pōhuehue, pōpōhue (names given to several climbing or trailing plants).
Oil from fruit: hinu-kōhia
COMMON NAME: New Zealand passionfruit
MEDICINAL: Oil from seeds - mentioned by many authors.
Seeds - oil used as salve for obstinate wounds, sore breasts (Brett's Colonists' Guide 1883).
Goldie 1905: 69 : [for hakihaki, that is, scabies or the itch] some relief was doubtless obtained from an ointment or salve prepared by drying certain parts of the kohu-kohu (Pittosporum obcordatum) in the sun, pounding them into a dust, and finally mixing it into a paste with hinu-kōhia oil...'
Seed oil also applied to chronic sores, chapped nipples.
A decoction of harakeke root with an equal portion of the juice of the kōhia berry is taken internally for flatulence. (Goldie 1905).

Related pharmacology in Brooker, Cambie and Cooper 1987.
See Riley 1994 for information on medicinal uses of related plants elsewhere in the world.
DOMESTIC: '..the seeds are embedded in a crimson pulp, and from them the natives formerly pressed oil' (Taylor 1847)
Oils valued for armourer, watchmaker (Reed and Brett's 1874 ; Kirk, in Taylor 1870).
Seeds crushed, then steamed in an umu-kōhia, oil obtained by pressure (Best 1942).
Trunk stem used by travellers to carry fire (Colenso 1869a).
Stem cut green, allowed to become quite dry - would smoulder when set alight. Used by travellers (Best 1908).
Used for lashing handles to adzes, aka torotoro (Best 1912 p.162).
CONSTRUCTION: Sometimes used for tying fences, platforms, house-framing, but not extensively (Colenso 1869a) Used for lashing in storehouse construction (Best 1916)
Travelling parties sometimes carried flax or aka-tororaro to tie the sticks and bind the thatching for rough shelters (Beattie 1994)
FISHING AND HUNTING: The tough, pliant stems of a forest climbing-plant called aka kuku used to make a cable for a stone anchor (Wairarapa Māori, in Best 1925). [Most likely P. tetrandra, though akakūkū also refers to a species of Clematis. Ed]

CHEMISTRY: The seed oil contains unidentified colouring matter and glycerides (Brooker 1960)
Other compounds listed in Cambie 1976, 1988 with references.
Broad spectrum anti-bacterial activity reported for an extract of the leaves.(Calder et al 1986)
SCENT: Fragrant oil used as perfume (Kirk, in Taylor 1870).
Anointing oils (Colenso 1869a)
Gum used to render oil fragrant, make pomades, etc. Gumlike exudation obtained by making incisions in the bark in spring - put into toilet oil, heated to dissolve. (Best 1942).
RECORD NUMBER: 1106