Ophiocordyceps robertsii from New Zealand where it is known as awheto or aweto by the Maori. The Maori people burn this caterpillar fungus and use the ash as tattoo ink. "Aweto" is also sometimes used in "Chinglish" when Chinese English-language articles report about caterpillar fungus (Ophiocordyceps sinensis) in Tibet or China.
Photo: Regi, Whenua
Dave Nevin from New Zealand shared the following information on Ophiocordyceps robertsii :
I was reading an account by the American Consul to New Zealand, John B. Williams, 1844...and thought you might be interested.
"The Hotte a decided Caterpillar or worm, is found growing at the foot of the Rata tree with a plant growing out of its head; some have said that this peculiar and singular insect travels up the tree, both the rata & perriri [puriri] trees, and entering into the top burrows or eats its way through the trunk of the tree until it reaches the root; it then comes out of the root and dies or remains dormant and the plant propagates out of its head, the body remains perfect and entire of a harder substance than when
[p.109] alive; there are many accounts of this singular and most extraordinary insect, but the above description appears conclusive to my mind to be the most correct, as the perriri tree is mostly perforated with holes, from which an inference is conclusively drawn, that this worm or insect has bored through and traveld. From this insect the natives make the coloring for tattooing in the following manner; they make two ovens underground, on one they place fire, they then make a tube or passage in the second from the first through which passage the steam passes from the fired oven through the tube into the other, and chars the other until it becomes a dark blue which is then inpected in the 'Wakau' or Tu the tattoo."
Source: p.109. The New Zealand Journal, 1842-1844 of John B. Williams of Salem, Massachusetts http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarly/tei-WilNewZ-t1-g1-t2-body-d1-d3.html
Dave also writes: I know of Puriri Moth, a large green nocturnal that occasionally flies in my window, it will bore lots of half-inch holes in the living tree.
Note: Rata tree is in the Genus Metrosideros, Myrtaceae
Puriri (Vitex lucens) is an evergreen tree endemic to New Zealand. Vitex, formerly Verbenaceae, has been moved to Lamiaceae.