New Zealand Flax / Harakeke


About New Zealand Flax / Harakeke

Flax Leaves

Sometimes referred to by it's latin botanical name, Phormium, but commonly called Flax within New Zealand, this plant is a New Zealand native.

For Māori (the indigeneous people of New Zealand) it was a valuable weaving material in pre-European times. The plant is called Harakeke in the Māori  language.  The art of raranga (weaving with harakeke)  is still thriving today.

There's an interesting article about the history of New Zealand Flax here.  And information about the National New Zealand Flax Collection here.



Dyeing Flax 

How The Weavings Are Coloured       


Teri Dyes are used to colour the strips of flax before they are woven.  It's a hot water dyeing process – where the flax leaves are split into strips and prepared for weaving, and then immersed into a hot water dye bath to be coloured, before the handweaving process begins.

Information about Teri Dyes is here.