Metrosideros excelsa. Pōhutukawa.
On Rangitoto, biggest industry is beekeeping. Honey produced from the pollen of pohutukawa flowers is especially white, has a distinct flavour. Queen Elizabeth apparently orders a batch of Rangitoto honey every year. (Jan Corbett, `Metro" magazine, Feb. 1986, p.19)
Bark astringent, valuable for tanning (Brett's Guide 1883)
"the 'Christmas tree' of the colonists." (Taylor 1870)
A fine fuel (Taylor 1855).
"As firewood it is highly approved, and as a heat-producer stands next in order to the Puriri, and the Kowahi" (Featon 1889)
Wallace 1989 found 6 fernroot beaters, 16 mauls, 2 paddles, a weapon, an eel club, 2 ketu, 3 ko, 1 teka, 1 wakahuia made of Metrosideros species among museum artefacts he tested.
"Wood hard and red" (Taylor 1870)
"The only wood on the island [Tuhua, Mayor Island] is the Rata or Portikawa [sic.], called by Europeans the Iron Wood from its hardness - it is of a red colour, and very durable, and from which the timbers of all vessels that are built in New Zealnd are made - ... - it is very heavy. The roots of this tree are likewise used as timbers and gunwales for boats, being very pliant while green, and will bend to any shape..." ("M", Sketches of New Zealand 1837)
Used by bushmen for dysentery (Kirk 1889).
"The juice of the inner bark is said to possess a medicinal virtue, and the Maoris are accustomed to use it to allay inflammation, and promote healing in gunshot and gangrenous wounds" (Featon 1889)
Tainui canoe tied to pohutukawa, called Tangi te Korowhiti, when canoe arrived in the Kawhia Harbour more than 600 years ago. Seeds from the tree propagated by DOC in 1987, to ensure its continued survivial. (from newspaper cutting in New Zealand Herald, 14 March 1991)
Wallace 1989 found 1 spinning top made of Metrosideros species among museum artefacts he tested.