Hihi volunteer needed

Date posted: 18-Oct-2018

Would you like to volunteer with the Island's hihi team and learn from them how ..

2019 Calendars now available

Date posted: 05-Sep-2018

The new 2019 calendars are now available and this year's is better than ever! Th..

Winners of kokako photo competition

Date posted: 02-Sep-2018

The stunning winning photographs from those submitted to the competition as part..

Kokako Celebration

Date posted: 21-Jul-2018


Kokako Photographic Competition

Date posted: 20-Jul-2018

KĊŒKAKO PHOTOGRAPHIC COMPETITION Celebrating 21 years on Tiritiri Matangi To ce..

New monitoring reports published

Date posted: 19-Jul-2018

Reports on monitoring studies carried out over the past year have now been poste..

2018 Concert coming up soon

Date posted: 15-Feb-2018

Our 2018 concert will feature an afternoon of light classics and jazz courtesy of the Auckland Ph..

Wetapunga talk coming soon

Date posted: 05-Feb-2018

For the Social on 19 March the speaker will be Ben Goodwin of Auckland Zoo, who will talk about t..

Rat caught and now takahe released from pens

Date posted: 28-Jan-2018

Thankfully DOC staff Andre de Graaf and Polly Hall and their assistants have trapped the rat whic..

Your Christmas Shopping for a Song

Date posted: 04-Dec-2017

Aka - The Grand Christmas Shopping Expedition to Tiritiri Matangi Island Shop Dreading..


Botanical name:  Phormium tenax
Maori name:  Harakeke
Common name:  Flax

Flax bush

A member of the day lily family Hermerocallidaceae, flax is capable of surviving on clifftops and bone-dry cuttings as well as in swamps.  Leaves are 1 – 3 m long.


Flax played an important role in traditional Maori life. It was used to make clothing, food baskets, mats and fish traps. Fibre was extracted from the leaves by first scraping them with a mussel shell. It was then washed, dried and bleached in the sun. The fibre was rolled into a double thread for weaving. 

Flower stalks were made into rafts and nectar from the flowers sweetened fern root meal. The orange gum from the base of the plant was administered as an antiseptic and used to stop bleeding

Flax flowersFlax flower spearsWhen flowering flax provides nectar for honeyeaters. The seeds are eaten by kakariki and the bushy clumps provide shelter and nesting sites for penguins.  Flowering is from November to January, with seeds from February to March.


Flax was also used for rope making by Europeans, initially for the Royal Navy.

Photography by Jan Velvin
© (top right, bottom left ) and by Peter Craw ©
(bottom left)