Story: Seaweed

‘The right seaweed’

‘The right seaweed’

This newspaper article from the Auckland Star, written during the Second World War, gives instructions to Girl Guides to help identify and dry agar seaweeds as part of the war effort.

SEAWEED PRODUCT

USE IN WARTIME

NEEDED IN HOSPITALS

Seaweeds that most people regard as worthless have suddenly become important. They are needed to take the place of products formerly imported from France and Japan. The most important seaweed product is agar, which is used every day in hospitals. Britain and America need supplies of this very necessary material.

This is a matter in which girl guides of New Zealand have been asked for help, for agar can be made in this country. Authorities are trying to discover where the special agar seaweeds grow. As it is impossible for one person to search the whole coast the help of children is asked for. The children in two or three native schools in the Bay of Plenty have collected nearly half a ton of the right weed, carefully dried and so have made more than £25 for local funds.

“Te Rama,” the girl guide journal, contains the following instructions to guides looking for the right seaweed: “Discard all those that have bubbles or hollow bladders of any sort and all those that are green, or yellow-brown or blackish-brown. Pick out any that are tough to break and rich dark red, when they are growing or bleached white on the beach. Hang samples of each of these on a fence to dry or spread them out on a sunny rock, turning them occasionally as if you were haymaking. When they are dry they will be very light and safe to wrap in strong paper. The authorities ask that the name of the beach where the seaweed is collected be given. If you are successful in finding this important seaweed, get in touch with a girl guide official, who will give you all particulars and tell you where to send it.”

Using this item

Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand
Reference: Auckland Star, 16 January 1942, p. 2

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How to cite this page:

Maggy Wassilieff, 'Seaweed - Modern uses and future prospects', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/document/4604/the-right-seaweed (accessed 25 September 2020)

Story by Maggy Wassilieff, published 12 Jun 2006