Kawakawa fruit is little fruit clustered on a central stem, green at first, then changing to orange when ripe. The seed are a favourite of many 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 to be recommended when distilling drinks - its a gin-maker's secret.
The root, fruit, seeds and especially the leaves of the Kawakawa plant were favourite medicinal remedies of the New Zealand Maori. Externally, Kawakawa can be used to heal cuts and wounds and added for the vapour to baths.
Internally, kawakawa has been found to be effective as a blood purifier for eczema, boils, cuts, wounds, rheumatism, neuralgia, ringworm, itching sore feet, kidney and skin ailments.
Common throughout the North & the top half of the South Island from sea level to 600m, it is a day trip from the mountainous Ruapehu region to pick kawakawa.