Kia ora whanau,
I hope you are all having a beautiful day like we have been blessed with today in Te Tairawhiti. A great day for catching up with friends, chilling at the beach or if you are a Weaver making the most of it and going for a harvest. Today is the first day that the wind has been quite calm compared to the last few days which helps when you are ready to go and harvest some fresh flax from the whenua (land). Love it!!
It’s been a while since I’ve done a harvest. The last one was maybe 4 months ago and that was for Muka Flax. This time around I was looking for a variety of flax, good for Weaving 2 strong, sturdy backpacks – which I will be preparing these whenu (strips) for over the weekend ready to dye on Monday.
One of my favourie flax varieties to work with is ‘Paoa’ – in both Muka and Flax – it is very strong and originates from my mothers line of descent, from Muriwai so I have been told. Before I found this out I fell in love with its properties as each species has its own and originates from their own individual rohe (area). Usually I would harvest around four times a year. I haven’t needed to do this year as most of my materials I had prepared in the years prior to this year.
Today I harvested from my mothers homestead – through my Grandmother, situated out Manutuke. The last time I was there to harvest was about 3 years ago and there were 4 huge plants at the time in this same spot. They had to be removed as the maintenance was too big a job. Now the Pa Harakeke is at a much more manageable state.
I love removing myself from the ‘Rat Race’ and returning to the land of my tupuna (ancestors) where I can breathe in the fresh air of the country and be nurtured by nature through its ‘magical being’ the wind, the birds, the trees, the smell and beauty of nature – ‘We are People of the land – without it we would be nothing’, hence the need to look after it by tending to the land and grounding ourselves by being amongst it.
Neway, here is a preview of what I got to see & do today.
And the end result.. a picture of a healthy plant… front & back
This is how much flax I got out of the one bush.. stored and ready to prep tomorrow.
After storing my blades I took a closer look at my own plantation of two varieties of flax at home, the bigger one is Tapamangu from my first Weaving Mentors plantation good for Weaving and the other is Paoa, the Muka variety from a Pa Harakeke out Patutahi where my father is from.
Have a safe and happy weekend.