Story: Te Ao Mārama – the natural world

Flax bush

Flax bush

The flax bush features in a saying about the sanctity of human life, where a human is likened to the central shoot of the bush:

Unuhia te rito o te harakeke, kei hea te kōmako e kō?
Ui mai ki ahau, ‘He aha te mea nui o te Ao?’
Māku e kī atu,
‘He tangata, he tangata, he tangata.’

If you remove the central shoot of the flaxbush, where will the bellbird find rest?
If you were to ask me, ‘What is the most important thing in the world?’
I would reply,
‘It is people, it is people, it is people.’

The flax also represents the world of families within families.

Using this item

Department of Conservation
Reference: 10054029
Photograph by Philippe Gerbeaux

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How to cite this page:

Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal, 'Te Ao Mārama – the natural world - The importance of the land', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/7963/flax-bush (accessed 21 October 2018)

Story by Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal, published 24 Sep 2007