Manuka is abundant throughout New Zealand from lowland to subalpine areas. Captain Cook used this plant to make tea, as he liked the bitter taste, hence its other common name of tea-tree.
An infusion of the bark is used externally and internally as a sedative. It was also used for scalds and burns. The ash from the bark was rubbed onto the skin to treat skin diseases. Vapour from leaves boiled in water was used for colds. The inner bark was boiled and the liquid used as a mouthwash.
Read more about Manuka and Kanuku in Te Papa's Collections Online.