Group of Maori women weaving flax baskets (kete), at Rangiahua, 1918. Group of Maori women weaving flax baskets (kete), at Rangiahua, 1918.. Godber, Albert Percy, 1875-1949 :Collection of albums, prints and negatives. Ref: APG-1663-1/2-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23077131

Group of Maori women weaving flax baskets (kete), at Rangiahua,

Traditionally, the flax plants were hand-pulled from the field when mature.  Flax is a bast fiber, meaning the threads or fibers used to make fabric run the entire length of the stem.  Once the plants are pulled, the flax stems must be “retted.”  ...  basically the stems lie on the ground for days or weeks and the tough outer stems rot away.    1914, Flax retting at Cloney Farm,  Knocknacarry, Wales

I like linen. I really, really like linen. It's cool, it's soft, easy to wash and yes it wrinkles until it's worn in but I prefer to think of it as genteel rumpling. It's a small price to pay fo.

Maori women weaving kete Maori women weaving kete. Birch, A E :Scenic negatives and prints taken by Thomas Pringle. Ref: 1/1-007008-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22836083  Maori women weaving kete. Birch, A E :Scenic negatives and prints taken by Thomas Pringle. Ref: 1/1-007008-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22836083

Unidentified Maori women sitting outside a house weaving kete, circa Photograph taken by Thomas Pringle.

Nordic Thoughts: Scutching the flax http://nordic-aputsiaq.blogspot.co.nz/2012/10/scutching-flax.html

Scutching the flax, Leksand, Sweden. Photo by Heurlin Gustaf, between Västergötlands museum

'muka' is a useful thread made from the fibre of the harakeke (flax) plant in New Zealand. More than a functional object, muka is also a powerful connecting material that carries meaningful stories between people.

'muka' is a useful thread made from the fibre of the harakeke (flax) plant in New Zealand. More than a functional object, muka is also a powerful connecting material that carries meaningful stories between people.

Flax industry workers on a barge loaded with flax on the Manawatu River. Two horse-drawn carts are in the river, and a steam launch is tied up on the far side of the barge. Photograph taken ca 1900s by Louis John Daroux. Transporting flax by barge, Manawatu River. Daroux, Louis John, 1870-1948 :Photographs of New Zealand and the Pacific. Ref: 1/1-039338-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23118761

Flax industry workers on a barge loaded with flax on the Manawatu River. Two horse-drawn carts are in the river, and a steam launch is tied up on .

Bales of flax fibre ready for market  -  flax fibre (often known as New Zealand hemp, or New Zealand flax, but more correctly known as phormium tenax).  Bales of flax fibre ready for market. Godber, Albert Percy, 1875-1949 :Collection of albums, prints and negatives. Ref: APG-1438-1/4-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22336686

View of bales of flax fibre (often known as New Zealand hemp, or New Zealand flax, but more correctly known as phormium tenax).

Bleaching and dying paddocks at Miranui flaxmills, showing racks of fibre Bleaching and dying paddocks at Miranui flaxmills, showing racks of fibre. Adkin, George Leslie, 1888-1964 :Photographs of New Zealand geology, geography, and the Maori history of Horowhenua. Ref: 1/2-065687-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23110924

Bleaching and dying paddocks at Miranui flaxmills, showing racks of fibre with sheep grazing in between. Photograph taken by George Lesley Adkin, .

Flax mill, Whakaki Flax mill, Whakaki. Williams, Edgar Richard, 1891-1983 :Negatives, lantern slides, stereographs, colour transparencies, monochrome prints, photographic ephemera. Ref: PAColl-7985-39. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22773382

Flax mill, Whakaki Flax mill, Whakaki. Williams, Edgar Richard, 1891-1983 :Negatives, lantern slides, stereographs, colour transparencies, monochrome prints, photographic ephemera. Ref: PAColl-7985-39. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22773382

Miranui flaxmill  - Flaxmill at Miranui in Horowhenua, 1917, with a worker using a horse drawn cart to move fibre from the mill to the bleaching and drying paddocks. Photograph taken by George Leslie Adkin Miranui flaxmill. Adkin, George Leslie, 1888-1964 :Photographs of New Zealand geology, geography, and the Maori history of Horowhenua. Ref: 1/2-065681-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22759179

Flaxmill at Miranui in Horowhenua, with a worker using a horse drawn cart to move fibre from the mill to the bleaching and drying paddocks.


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