Harakeke, Phormium tenax or flax as it is commonly called, is a familiar plant to most of us kiwis, endemic to New Zealand it is often spotted along roadsides, or found in our backyards. Plaited leaf strips or woven fibre stripped from the leaves were used to create items such as clothing, nets, baskets, and mats. Babies were even given rattles made from harakeke. Not only were leaves and fibre used; bundles of dried flower stalks were used to create floats or rafts, and the harakeke flowers produce large amounts of nectar, used to sweeten food and drinks.
The sticky jelly like sap the plant produces between the blades of the leaves was often applied to boils and wounds, burns and eczema and also used for toothache.
The nectar from the flowers was used to soothe sore throats. The leaves were used to help bind broken bones and matted leaves were used as dressings.
The juice from the roots was often used to disinfect wounds. The overseas demand reduced in time, but linen was still being made from flax well into the s. A Harakeke Proverb. If the heart of harakeke was removed, where will the bellbird sing? If I was asked, what was the most important thing in the world; I would be compelled to reply, It is people, it is people, it is people!13 COMMONLY USED PROVERB IN TIBETAN - TIBETAN PROVERB -
The outer leaves are the tupuna ancestors ; the inner leaves are the matua parents ; the very inner leaf is the rito or pepe baby.
Only the outer leaves are cut as the inner leaves are left to protect the very inner leaf. I think this is a beautiful way of viewing our environment.
Proverbs – Ngā Whakataukī, Ngā Whakatauākī
Department of Conservation. Landcare Research. Wehi, P. M and Clarkson, B. Phormium tenax, harakeke, New Zealand flax. New Zealand Journal of Botany, McAllum, P. Te Kanawa, K. Te Kaharoa, North America, 01 Our campuses are currently closed to the public. Visit www. He hono tangata e kore e motu; ka pa he taura waka e motu Unlike a canoe rope, a human bond cannot be severed. He taonga rongonui te aroha ki te tangata Goodwill towards others is a precious treasure.
Waiho i te toipoto, kaua i te toiroa Let us keep close together not far apart. Haere taka mua, taka muri; kaua e whai. E kore a muri e hokia. He rau ringa e oti ai. He taonga tonu te wareware. Kua hua te marama. I timu noa te tai. I orea te tuatara ka patu ki waho. He maurea kai whiria!. Ignore small matters and direct effort toward important projects. He pai ake te iti i te kore.
He iti kahurangi. If something is too small for division, do not try to divide it. Nothing can be achieved without a plan, workforce and way of doing things. He who has the produce of his labour stored up will never want. Aroha mai, aroha atu Love received demands love returned 3. Te kuku o te manawa The pincers of the heart The object of affection 5.
Ahakoa he iti he pounamu Although it is small it is a treasure 7. He taonga rongonui te aroha ki te tangata Goodwill towards others is a precious treasure Taku toi kahurangi My precious jewel Me te wai korari Like the honey of the flax flower as sweet as honey He iti kahurangi A little treasure Waiho i te toipoto, kaua i te toiroa Let us keep close together not far apart The harakeke stands tall, deeply rooted in the earth, resilient and strong.
Harakeke is herbaceous so it is a soft growing plant, not woody. I have thousands of harakeke images in my collection taken over the past 18 years. The flowers are amazing!
And the birds and bees love them. The tui, korimako and tauhou all come to eat the nectar. The cultivar of harakeke that I have is called Paoa and belonged to Diggeress Te Kanawa who was a well known weaver here in Aotearoa. It has soft droopy leaves and is a beautiful golden green yellow colour.
Allowing air to blow through the leaves and space at the bottom makes the harakeke happy. And it keeps the scale away. I learnt this through not cutting my plants back enough and not looking after them properly at times! If the rain can get into them, it can give them a good clean out.
Seeds are amazing too! Harakeke is an amazing plant full stop! They took off that easily. You can get hundreds of seeds in one season. I have a rubbish bag full of seeds and I love to use them creatively too. They are an amazing jet black colour, very light in weight and also edible.
They taste kind of nutty. Uses: So many! Harakeke is one of the most under utilised plants and yet it grows easily and abundantly. Great as a mulch this is something I would like to experiment with more because the worms love it. Riparian planting along waterways, plantings along banks and hills to hold the earth together. And the list goes on! This is a plant that I have come to love over the past 18 years.Few New Zealanders would fail to recognise harakeke, one of our most distinctive native plants.
It is the principal weaving plant, and many weavers use named forms selected for leaf pliability, colour and fibre quality. Today, harakeke is also used in non-traditional ways to create original and exciting works of art. Harakeke grows throughout New Zealand, from sea level to about m in altitude. It is commonly found in lowland wetlands and along rivers, and in coastal areas on estuaries, dunes and cliffs.
A hundred years ago, harakeke was much more abundant in many regions, but large wild stands today are diminished and scattered. Harakeke is often seen in gardens, is used widely in landscaping projects and in wetland restoration plantings, and as shelter belts on farmland. Harakeke is a herbaceous plant, meaning its growth form is soft, not woody. The robust, sword-like leaves are arranged in two adjoining sets around the growing point rito to form a fan.
A unique feature of harakeke and related plants is that the lower third or so of each leaf is folded together along its midrib or keel. This creates a stiff, heavy butt. Fans develop from the stout, fleshy underground rhizome or rootstock.
The rhizome has many reddish yellow roots of varying lengths that extend laterally or downwards. Hundreds of fans can develop from the rootstock to create the flax bush. Because these offshoots are of the same genetic stock, they exhibit the same leaf and fibre qualities. The number of fans produced in a bush varies a lot and is one of the characteristics that can help identify different weaving cultivars.
In older plants the rootstocks branch, generally away from the centre, and new fans arise that may eventually create a ring around the original plant.
Sometimes as the plant ages, the rootstock is exposed above the ground and new fans develop that are less thrifty, through receiving fewer nutrients and moisture. Most fans produce about eight mature leaves, four on each side of the rito, before they start to yellow and die off. The look and feel of the leaf is what draws a weaver to consider its worth for raranga or whatu. Harakeke leaves are variable in length 1—4 mwidth 2—12 cmand rigidity.
Some bushes have stiff, upright leaves, others are softer and lax. The fibre bundles within the leaf run parallel to the keel. Sometimes these striations show clearly on the surface and the leaf feels rigid and tough. Other leaves are quite smooth to the touch. Leaf colour varies from blue-green, green, yellow-green through to bronze. The leaf underside is often glaucous, with a blue bloom like a plum.
Harakeke has coloured leaf margins and keel, with orange, red, brown and black being the most common. Colours can vary between young and old leaves, even within a bush. Coloured edges are narrow, thick or smudged. Young leaves in particular are sometimes smudged with colour particularly reddish brown at the tips.
Black-edged varieties are regarded by some weavers as having the best muka. There are excellent varieties with orange keels and margins, such as 'Arawa' and 'Makaweroa'.Recently I changed the banner photo on my site to one of the flax at my place.
Mainly because I like the photo and I wanted to use something that was personal to me, rather than the stock photos I have been using. If the heart of the harakeke was removed, where will the bellbird sing?
We should treat our organisations with reverence and respect, understanding that we need to nurture and encourage the new shoots in order to secure the future. Taking care of people by providing structure, guidance, learning, encouragement, reward, celebration and communication; will build strong and resilient organisations that will endure well into the future. I would like to see a world where our organisations, whether business, not for profit, private or public; are treated with respect by the people who have responsibility for them.
Invest time, thought, care and attention to create an organisation that will endure. Your email address will not be published. It is people, it is people, it is people….
Leave a Reply Cancel reply Your email address will not be published.Harakeke is a very important plant that the Maori people use in a varierty of ways to furnish their lives and clothe their bodies. Their use of the plants is guided by lore, legend and protocols.
I think it would very interesting to investigate the science behind the stories. Interestingly I found a document written in on the Royal Society website. It is quite hard to read as the language in it and the attitude to traditional knowledge is seriously un-PC but it is this very different attitude which underlines how far we have come in acknowledging the inportance of traditonal knowledge and could also push us along to improve further.
It should be remembered that when the British first arrived in NZ at the end of the 18th century they needed a lot of support to survive from the Maori who understood the climate, growing conditions and which plants and animlas were good to eat.
Likewise the value of the harakeke dubbed flax by the British as a fibre was soon recognised and they began harvesting and exporting the fibre to England to be woven into linen. There are a number of investigations based on comparing, sorting and classifying that you could undertake.
Find out about the uses of harakeke in the weaving process - different plants had differnt uses. The Rene Orchiston Collection was created to have examples of plants with different qualities all together. Now if you and your class collect as many samples of harakeke as you can and test them for muka, drying, colour, and so you can explore these qualities and group your samples. Can you find a local expert to help you? Some of the lore is about actually caring for the plants themselves as they grow.
Find out how you should cut the leaves, which ones, when? Think about why that was important for the plant, for the leaves harvested? How do these ideas about 'pruning' and 'composting' match up with our modern, western ideas? It is also interesting to consider that the Maori told stories to reinforce how to care for and use this important plant. It might be interesting to think about the stories we tell in these modern times to help guide us to take care Stranger Danger?
Halloween reminds us of witches and goblins lurking in the dark, what can your class think of? Sometimes stories have more power than signs and warnings to keep us out of bogs, rips, cliffs and forests. Virtual Learning Network. Log in Username or email. Remember me Register Lost password. Search Loading. Groups Science: a blended e-learning approach Group content Harakeke Harakeke. Public Last updated days ago by Joy Kitt.
The healing nature of harakeke
Science: a blended e-learning approach Making links between science content knowledge and e-learning tools, strategies and processes. The Joy of Science - e-science resources What can I find here? Gadgets What if? Cooking with steam Maori Navigation Search in this group.They also teach them about the environment and kaitiaki tanga guardianship and protection.
It was also a way of passing on culture, telling stories and affirming beliefs. We sing waiata and tell stories, and the men share their techniques and pass on their knowledge to the new men.
Harakeke is often a metaphor for family bonds and human relationships in whakatauki proverbs and waiata songs. Wiki quotes a whakatauki, which defines people as the most important element in the universe. You ask me what is the greatest thing on earth. Exposed to weaving from an early age through her nana and her mother, Wiki has been teaching mahi raranga for 35 years. She is also a highly regarded weaver, in demand to make large-scale commissioned works for public displays and private collections.
When the men heard that Arts Access Aotearoa was writing stories about the Tikanga Programme and mahi raranga, they were keen to contribute their thoughts. We learn that the plant has a tipuna, an awhi rito, a rito — all of these things that make us family. Through working with the harakeke, we see the way to nuture our own families and treat them with dignity and respect. Much thanks and much respect. Wiki teaches four classes of mahi raranga a week, with up to 25 men in each class.
When the men first come to her class, she says, they learn about a way of life and artform loved by many before them. The healing journey for the men is visible as they pick up the flax and connect with their tipuna. The men begin by making small kete and roses. They then move on to intricate lilies, floral art and backpacks, which they wear proudly and enjoy showing to staff.
At times, Whaea Wiki selects up to 20 men to work collaboratively to complete rapaki rain capeskorowai fine ceremonial cloaks made from muka and papa whariki large mats. Wiki says the memory of their first lesson and the process of weaving make the men very aware that this is a way forward.
They have heard the karanga of their tipuna. Arts For All Network. Creative Spaces. Arts in Corrections. Arts Access Advocates Newsletters. Original generation time 0.