Name: Kiekie​

Scientific name: Freycinetia banksii

NZ Status: Endemic

Conservation Status (NZTCS): Non threatened

Found: Kiekie can be found throughout lowland forests in the North Island, and it is also common in areas of high rainfall in the South Island. It grows best in damp shady places, and full sun where there is enough moisture in the ground. 

Did you know? Kiekie is the most valued weaving plant after harakeke, and it is often used by Māori to make fine soft mats and tukutuku panels.

Photo Credit: Allison Buchan

Kiekie is a robust climbing shrub native to New Zealand with leaves that often completely obscure the trunk of the tree. Usually, the kiekie vine attaches itself by roots to the stems of trees forming dense tangles. It develops numerous canes up to 40 millimitres in diameter that produce aerial roots.  

Kiekie leaves grow up to a metre in length. The very small flowers, male and female on different plants, occur during the spring. The hard-green fruits of the female flowers combine into what looks like a corn cob that matures in late summer.

Kieke has been an important food source for Māori; the sweet-tasting fruits and succulent flower bracts (tawhara) were a delicacy, and the flower petals were made into juice or jelly. 

Look for them: The most prominent kiekie group are found on the western bank of the lower lake.