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Metrosideros albiflora. Aka. Akatea. White-flowered rātā.

Name document

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Used for lashing uprights onto rails of fence; "it is very durable". Further on, Best says .. "the best material for lashing [on agricultural implements] is a certain species of plant (aka), the pliant, tough stems of which are used for this purpose. The aka tea, so much esteemed for lashing fences, &c., is deemed inferior for this purpose"(Best 1925).

In the Wairarapa, pieces of akatea sometimes laid transversely across the ramparts so the inner ends projected from the face. This was to enable the garrison to detect any tunnelling operations by the enemy - such an operation would make the aka move. Best thought this statement somewhat dubious (Best 1927)

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The sap is obtained by cutting the living bark and is used for women's complaints (heavy bleeding) (W. Miller 1940)

Related pharmacology, see Brooker, Cambie and Cooper 1987.

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"Rangitihi upoko i takaia ki te aketea. Rangitihi's head was bound up with the white-flowering creeper (Metrosideros albiflora).

This hero of old, when his skull was split with his enemy's club, had it bound up with this creeping shrub, and, although his men had retreated, led them on again to battle, and gained the day.

Meaning: the truly brave man never despairs." (Colenso 1879: 137).

A similar proverb follows: Ko te upoko i takaia ki te akatea.

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28 May 2007
1 July 2020
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