Whangarei Boys High School has been gifted six varieties of heritage harakeke by the Auckland Botanic Gardens. The harakeke are part of the national collection that whakapapa (relate) back to pre-European times. The national collection is maintained by Manaaki Whenua (Landcare Research) at Lincoln. The original plants were donated to the Auckland Botanic Gardens by Sue Scheele from Landcare Research.
The aim is to have the Kōrari (another term for harakeke or flax) used in classroom programmes at the high school, including Science, Art, Technology, Māori Arts and Business Studies. The harakeke varieties have different characteristics, some produce long clean muka (fibre) for chord and rope making. Others are good for weaving, some for beginners and others for more advanced weavers.
There has been great support for the project from school staff, particularly Mr Kumar, Head of Faculty of Science, Mr Jennings and Matua Teina (Science), and Matua Whiu (Maori) as well as staff at the Auckland Botanic Gardens.
“It has been a real privilege to be able to organise the planting with the support of the community, staff and students. To have plants with this whakapa is a real honour for the school, they have been used for to sustain people for centuries” said Mr Gilbert, Deputy Principal.
Find out more about the Harakeke Collection at the Auckland Botanic Gardens.
Pictured are school students with their new harakeke divisions as well as school staff Mr Gilbert (Deputy Principal) Mr Whiu, Mr Wells-Smith and Mr Kumar (Head of Science).