Kawakawa and horopito are both known in New Zealand as the pepper tree and are culinary delights when flavouring foods.
Kawakawa fruit are clustered on a central stem, green at first, then changing to orange when ripe. The seeds are a favourite of birds in late summer who feast on them.
You can use the kawakawa seeds for cooking to flavour foods - try in a casserole or any slow cooked food. Also loved by distillers such as gin-makers!
The root, fruit, seeds and especially the leaves of the kawakawa plant were favourite medicinal remedies of the New Zealand Maori. Externally, Kawakawa was used to heal cuts and wounds as well as an ingredient in vapour baths.
Internally, it has been found to be effective as a blood purifier in cases of eczema, boils, cuts, wounds, rheumatism, neuralgia, ringworm, itching sore feet, kidney and skin ailments.
Common throughout the North Island & the top half of the South Island from sea level to 600m, its a day trip from the Ruapehu to go to lower neighbouring places to pick kawakawa from private land.