The Tūhoe recognise two Maire genders; the female, maire rauriki, and the male, maire-rau-ririki (Best 1908).
White Maire is an upright dioecious forest specimen which grows to 4 metres within ten years, to a maximum of 15 metres at maturity. This hardy evergreen carries an attractive rounded head, prefers good soil, and is found from North Cape to as far south as Nelson and Marlborough. N. lanceolata has coarse creased bark on its straight trunk while smaller branches are smoother. Its coriaceous longish narrow leaves are dark green. It produces greenish flowers from November to January and begins to fruit in December through to February, bringing enthusiastic kereru and other fruit-eating birds swooping in for the red-berried feast. These trees are drought tolerant but suffer under deep frost when young.
The timber of White Maire is hard, heavy, and durable, with a compact even grain. Maori used it for tools, weapons, and load-bearing construction. Early settlers made good use of the heavy wood too but it constituted substantial milling and handling problems. It had to be worked while it was still green in order to mill fence-posts and materials for building stockyards. Consumers also found the tough wood a challenge when it came to stapling the posts for fences but the upside was that they lasted forever.