Barbara Roberts, Homeopath

Four New Zealand Native Remedies

It is Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori, and so an opportunity to reflect on the Māori language, and for me, time to reflect on remedies that we have from New Zealand.

There aren’t many of them. There are obligations under the Treaty of Waitangi to protect our tāonga, including Rongoā rakau, our plant medicines. New Zealand native species are legally protected, and would require resource consent from the Department of Conservation, and also discussion with iwi for appropriate measures to be taken and remedies made. Some of the remedies we have have been made by Homeopaths who were unaware of this, but this is the reason there are not more remedies from New Zealand natives.

It’s certainly something I have thought of, as have many New Zealand Homeopaths, and I hope in future there will be legal and culturally appropriate remedies from New Zealand natives – and I expect that that respect will show in the remedy picture.

There are four homeopathic remedies that I know of:

Nestor Notabilis, the Kea.

Agatha Australis, the Kauri tree.

Cordyline Australis, the Cabbage tree.

Sophora Microphylla, the Kowhai.

There are also some insect and spider remedies: Lampona Cylindrata, the white tailed spider, Culex pervigilens, a NZ Mosquito, and Latrodectus Katipo. I do not know if they have the same legal protection as our plants, birds and lizards, and they are not remedies I will discuss today – definitely a later date.

Firstly, I want to touch on Nestor Notabilis, the Kea. This is a remedy that I will never use, the method by which the remedy was made has no respect for New Zealand, Māori people, or for the Kea. The feather was stolen from the bird, taking it from its enclosure in a zoo in Europe. The Homeopath asked the Zoo for permission to use it but had no respect for Māori or indigenous rights to protect the flora and fauna of the land. When published this was questioned by New Zealand Homeopath Sarah Penrose but her questions and concerns were completely dismissed. This lack of respect was even reflected in the proving with those taking part having bad luck and injuries. (1).

If, in future, there is a new remedy made from the Kea, with appropriate respect and care, legally obtaining permission from DOC and with respect and permission from iwi, then I will happily use that remedy. But not the current Nestor Notabilis.

The three tree remedies do not have the same arrogant disregard, and yet it is not clear from published information what process they went through, if any, to obtain permission from DOC and iwi to make these remedies.

Agatha Australis is the Kauri tree, and the remedy was made from the Yakas Kauri, a grandfather tree in the Cathedral Grove in the Waipoua forest, by drilling into it and collecting the sap.

The remedy had a feeling of exhilaration, with giggling and hysterics, like the effervescent feeling from champagne. However, what goes up must come down. The negative aspect of Kauri was described as an unhealed wound, remembering old painful experiences, and life long feelings of rejection. This always makes me think of Kauri trees being bled for their gum, a wound that was inflicted on the tree repeatedly, and the wound that was repeated to obtain the sample for this proving.

Kauri had both self love and self hatred in the proving, and there was a desire for sweet food, and disordered over eating cured by the remedy.

Physically there was a feeling that the head was pulled to a peak or a point, and head symptoms like being drunk, foggy and marshmallowy. There are back symptoms including boring or pushing pains in the scapulae, aching and twitching sensations and the feeling they are being poked. (2).

Cordyline Australis is Tī Kouka, the Cabbage Tree.

From the proving, Tī kouka had the delusion of being alone, that they will not survive when alone, and even a peaceful feeling when they make the decision to commit suicide (3). This for me sounds like the disease known as Sudden Decline that cabbage trees are subject to. It is a bacteria passed on from tree to tree by the Passionvine Hopper, and can rapidly kill, over as little as a few days, a previously thriving tree. The disease is not seen much in areas where the Cabbage tree normally grows, the wetlands. Instead it is seen in gardens, and fields, where instead of growing in groups, they are lonely single plants. (4)

Physically the feelings of Tī kouka are that of being torn apart, shattered, squeezed, or as if a blunt instrument is pushed in. They desire chocolate and sweets, and desire fat but are worse for it. They are better for open air, and wake early, at 4-5am and cannot get back to sleep (3).

Finally Kowhai, Sophora Microphylla. The proving had sensations of rippling or waving, like the movement of the Kowhai leaves in the wind. There were problems with the senses – eyesight with distractions, and auditory hallucinations with easy startling. There was confusion and what was described as a “buzzy feeling”. Sophora also had symptoms of Hepatitis (while jaundice wasn’t seen in the proving, we can still think of the doctrine of similars and the yellow colour of the flowers), symptoms of this were abdominal bloating and pain. The proving noted that Kowhai could be useful for accidents, where they are better for stretching and pains were itching or aching – this reflects the Rongoā Māori usage as a poultice for sprains, wounds and bruises (5).

I have no experience using any of these remedies, and feel slightly uncomfortable about them. I have used essences from NZ natives, but in researching and writing this I realise I need more information about their process also. My knowledge of Rongoā rakau is cursory, and this is something I need to learn more about. I feel that NZ Natives have a lot to offer in healing energy, and Homeopathic remedies can offer a different energy to herbal medicine, however to honour the source we need to make every effort to collect the remedy legally and respectfully. Perhaps in the future I can be involved in this.


  1. Pal, Nora (2020). Kea – Nestor Notabilis. The birth of a Homeopathic remedy.
  2. Gray, Alastair. (N.d.) Desperate Longing in the Garden of Eden. The Homeopathic proving of Agathis Australis – Kauri. (I have a printed version of this article and cannot find it online. The proving document is available here: )
  3. Vermeulen, Frans and Johnston, Linda. (2011). Plants, Volume One. Cordyline Australis Pp616-620.
  4. Radio NZ Afternoons. (2018) Expert feature: The Cabbage Tree/ Tī kouka.
  5. Gray, Alastair (2006). Experience of Medicine Volume 4.

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