Useful in all kinds of ways
Well before Captain Cook arrived in New Zealand, Māori found Mānuka useful for a wide range of things. The hard, straight-grained wood made strong building materials, and the mallets that knocked the components together were made from Mānuka as well. Māori fashioned excellent paddles, sharp spades, light bird spears, and some seriously dangerous weapons, all out of Mānuka wood.
When Māori first arrived in New Zealand and started burning off land, Mānuka was one of the first native species to regrow, shooting up fast and offering shade and shelter for other native saplings as they matured. So Māori actually did Mānuka a favour, helping it to spread widely throughout New Zealand – and Mānuka did Māori, and the rest of us, a whole lot of favours in return.