Botanicals

The Maori people were very adept at using native trees and plants for food. Originally knowledge of medicinal plants was held exclusively by the Tohunga (Maori Doctor). This knowledge was kept alive and passed down by the older women of the tribes. Many Maori continue to use these old remedies today.

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MANUKA LEAF

Manuka (Leptospermum scoparium) is a prolific scrub-type tree native to New Zealand and Australia. It is typically a shrub growing to 2–5 m (7–16 ft) tall, but can grow into a moderately sized tree, up to 15 m (49 ft) or so in height. It is evergreen, with dense branching and small leaves 7–20 mm long and 2–6 mm broad, with a short spine tip. The flowers are white, occasionally pink, 8–15 mm (rarely up to 25 mm) in diameter, with five petals.
 
Manuka was used extensively by the Maori and later by the early European Settlers for its herbal remedy function, alone and in combination with other native plants.
Captain Cook gave Manuka the name of "tea tree" and wrote of it..."the leaves were used by many of us as a tea which has a very agreeable bitter taste and flavour." Early settlers also called it "tea tree" as they too made a drink of it.
 
Due to the relatively strong, distinctive flavour of Manuka leaves, care needs to be taken with the amount included in tea blends. It is particularly suited to blending with Black Teas and will complement Fruit Teas well, especially those with a more intense flavour profile.

It is currently added to our Breakfast Tea, Earl Grey with Lemongrass, Lemon & Honey, Summer Fruit and Spiced Apple and Rhubarb. 

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KAWAKAWA LEAF

Piper excelsum, called Kawakawa, is a small tree of which the subspecies M. excelsum  is endemic to New Zealand. The leaves are often covered with insect holes. The name Kawakawa in M?ori refers to the bitter taste of the leaves, from ’kawa’ bitter.
 
The Kawakawa leaves are about 5–10 cm long by 6–12 cm wide, broadly rounded with a short drawn-out tip and are heart-shaped at their bases. The leaves are deep green in colour if growing in the forest but may be yellowish-green when growing in more open situations.
 
Kawakawa leaves have a distinctive green, fresh flavour which complements the flavour of Green Tea well, and is included in our Ginger & Lemongrass, Peach & Passionfruit, Strawberry & Pomegranate and Peppermint & Spearmint Tea. 

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HOROPITO LEAF

Horopito (Pseudowintera colorata) is a shrub or small tree that grows to eight metres in height. It grows throughout much of New Zealand, with the exception of the far north. It is abundant in upland and mountain forests in the North Island, and extends down to sea level in the southern South Island.

The upper surface of its light green, elliptical leaves is splotched with red, especially if the plant is exposed to the light. The underside is blue-grey. Tiny greenish-white flowers appear in early spring, followed by black berries in autumn.
 
Horopito leaves have a hot peppery taste and leave a slight burning sensation in the mouth.
 
Horopito is a perfect addition to flavoured black tea and is included in our Cinnamon Chai Tea.