June 04, 2021
Rewarewa genome should boost honey industry
A team of Genomics Aotearoa scientists from Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research, Plant & Food Research and University of Otago have sequenced the genome of the rewarewa, also known as New Zealand honeysuckle.
Project co-leader David Chagne from Plant & Food Research says it’s a major step towards conservation of the taonga species.
He says it should enable the burgeoning rewarewa honey industry to commercialise their honey based on its provenance and whakapapa, as New Zealand is doing in mānuka and wine.
Māori had multiple traditional uses for rewarewa including medicinal, spiritual and for construction. Not only did Māori collect and eat the nectar of the rewarewa, they also tapped the flowers inside a gourd and used the inner bark to bandage wounds to stop bleeding and speed healing. The wood was used for river posts and palisade walls.
The project used leaf samples collected from a tree located in Northland, in conjunction with the Te Rarawa Anga Mua and the Komiti Kaitiaki for Warawara Ngahere.
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