Story: Natural environment

New Zealand flax (1st of 3)

New Zealand flax

On arrival about 700 years ago Polynesians found the fibre of the native flax superior to anything they had known. Living without metal, or land mammals for hides or clothing (apart from the rats and dogs which came with them), Māori placed a high value on flax, which they used for fishing lines, sails, shelter and clothing. Different varieties had different uses. Some were woven into beautiful cloaks (kākahu), so treasured that they were individually named. This flax in bloom was photographed in Ōkārito, Westland.

Using this item

Department of Conservation
Reference: 10054029
Photograph by Philippe Gerbeaux

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How to cite this page:

Carl Walrond, 'Natural environment - The bush and its plants', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 14 July 2024)

Story by Carl Walrond