Nau mai haere mai ki Whenua Wenerei.
Karaka were one of several species cultivated and moved around the country by our tipuna.
We live next door to one of our hapu's oldest Pa sites. Whakaumu, which was in occupation before European times and now lies abandoned.
Other than the fading earthworks associated with that period, several groves of puriri kahikatea tawa and karaka are all that remain. The latter three had edible fruits and were an important food source. The edible fruits were also a seasonal source of manu which were lured in to bird spears and nooses by the fruit orchards. Drupes are the name for the fruit of tawa and karaka.
The karaka were cultivated as they are growing in the lee of the hillslope leading up to the Pa site and were planted along straight lines. The prevailing wind at drupe ripening time, mid summer, is the northwesterly. Having the groves in the lee of the site prevents the wind from dislodging immature drupes.
Further evidence of the man made origins of the karaka grove is the size of the karaka drupes. They are way bigger than the drupes on karaka surviving in nearby native bush remnants. Big drupes mean big kai.