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Plant Profile: No 20 Wineberry - Cooperation

No 20 Wineberry - Cooperation

Aristotelia serrata

Delicate flowers and richly coloured berries

Wineberry is a small tree with soft green serrated foliage that produces an abundance of beautiful pale pink to wine-coloured flowers in spring and early summer. The delicate flowers are followed by juicy black edible berries.

Wineberry is also known as Makomako, a name shared by the New Zealand bellbird, which loves to feed on its berries. Wineberry had many uses for both the early European settlers and Maori including medicinally as an intense dye and in the production of gunpowder. The Maori knew of its healing properties and boiled the leaves to apply to burns and infected wounds as well as for treating rheumatism and joint pain. The rich coloured berries are used to create jam and can be eaten raw or squeezed to make a thick sweet drink. They were once popular amongst the early settlers and, as the common name suggests, were used for creating wine.

Cooperating with other native plants

Wineberry is often one of the first trees that will grow in areas where bush fires or landslides have occurred and they are seen at the edges of regenerating forest. Their growth helps prevent further erosion of soil on hillsides and in gullies whilst providing shelter for other young plants as they establish themselves on uneven terrain.

‘The fire has come to life’

Of particular importance was wineberry’s suitability for generating fire. This characteristic is most often noted with two other native New Zealand trees – kaikomako and mahoe. The skill involved in generating fire was seen as both a necessity for life and also an important component of ritual in sacred ceremony. Utilising both hard and soft wood, the ‘fire plough’ method is now a rare technique, largely unknown in modern day society. It was customary for both a man and woman to carry out this task together in the village and it involved a three stage process. To generate fire a Kaunoti Hikahika rubbing stick was traditionally held by the man and rubbed briskly to create friction in a lower grooved stick (Kauati) that was held steady by the female. This task required a considerable amount of effort and once an ember formed at one end of the Kauati it was transferred to some dry starter material which would then light the prepared fire base.

Working together in this way they could then proclaim “A kua ka tea hi’, The fire has come to life”.

Today this process of close teamwork creates a sense of awe and magic in those who are privileged to observe it.

Wineberry Deva’s Blessing

I bring the gift of cooperation and harmony. Through me you are true to the principle of friendship, but a slave to none.

First Light® No 20 Wineberry is the Cooperation essence. This flower essence helps you to expand your awareness of relationship and improve diplomatic and social skills. It is helpful for peacemakers, teamworkers and for those wishing to enhance their ability to face conflict and restore harmony.

Negative Condition:

Hides worries and anxieties; puts on a carefee brave face; mental anguish disguised by cheerfulness; plays the role of peacemaker rather than confront issues; lives for love, friends, social activities; anxious about the prospect of confrontation.

Positive Potential:

Cooperation; diplomacy; social skills; romantic charm; vivaciousness; peace loving; balanced harmonious disposition; generosity; fairness; appreciation of beauty; able to confront difficulties; sees problems in the right light.

This article contains extracts from The Sacred Plant Medicine of Aotearoa Volume 1 by Franchelle Ofsoské-Wyber.