Story: Flax and flax working

A new plant

A new plant

This engraving of a New Zealand flax plant (the flowers are in the foreground) was included in A voyage towards the South Pole by Captain James Cook, published in 1777. It is from a drawing made by one of the artists who travelled with Cook. Botanical artists carefully recorded the unfamiliar plants and animals found by the explorers. New Zealand flax was one new plant that was regarded with great interest. The way Māori processed it suggested that it could also be used for rope-making.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: C-051-030

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Nancy Swarbrick, 'Flax and flax working - The early flax trade', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/artwork/10404/a-new-plant (accessed 19 October 2019)

Story by Nancy Swarbrick, published 24 Sep 2007