These women are roasting karaka berry kernels at Whakarongotai marae in Waikanae. The kernels contain a powerful poison called karakin, and need careful preparation before they are safe to eat. After roasting, the berries were soaked in fresh water for days or weeks to remove the toxins. Most victims of karaka poisoning were small children attracted by the berries' bright orange colour. They fell into violent convulsions and were sometimes buried in sand to their chins to prevent them dislocating joints.
Using this item
Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.