Māori name: Makomako

English name: Wineberry

Scientific name: Aristotelia serrata

NZ Status: Endemic

Conservation Status (NZTCS): Non threatened

Found: Makomako is common throughout New Zealand and it thrives in moist fertile sites.

Did you know? Boiled leaves are used by Māori for burns, infected wounds, sore eyes and rheumatism, and the bark soaked in hot water for blue/black eyes. Early European settlers, however, had other purposes in mind. The richly coloured fruit was used to make wine, and the wood burned to charcoal to aid in making gunpowder.

Photo Credit: Allison Buchan

Makomako is a small and fast-growing shrub. Named by Māori for its appearance and Europeans for its preferred use, this delicate tree is pleasing to all.

The soft, heart-shaped leaves of makomako, light green on top and tinged red underneath, are edged with sharp serrations, just like the teeth of its namesake, the mako shark.  

Bursts of spring-time flowers smother the trees in a white cloud, each tiny bloom developing a pinky-claret flush. 

Unusually, male and female flowers grow on separate plants, and both are needed for the rich wine-coloured fruit, a favourite of tūī and kereru, to form.

Don’t let makomako be overshadowed by its bolder brasher neighbours – look out for its pale beauty on forest edges.

Look for them: Makomako can be seen scattered all around the sanctuary. There are well-established Makomako in the Te Māhanga track that are easy to spot.