Story: Flax and flax working

Flax and people

Flax and people

Māori liken the flax plant to a family, with the central shoot (rito) representing the baby. The leaves protecting the rito are called the parents (awhi rito or mātua). Only the leaves on the outside of the plant, the grandparents (tūpuna), can be cut, or else the plant will be weakened.

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Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand
Artwork by Bruce Mahalski

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How to cite this page:

Nancy Swarbrick, 'Flax and flax working - Māori use of flax', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/diagram/10395/flax-and-people (accessed 14 November 2019)

Story by Nancy Swarbrick, published 24 Sep 2007