Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua


Poi made from raupō leaves. Collection of Mrs K Wood. Image - Sue Scheele

An important focus in our research on native plants is their cultural use by Māori, especially for weaving.

We maintain a living collection of weaving cultivars of harakeke (Phormium, New Zealand flax), which is a resource for research into fibre properties, traditional dyes, gel and seed oils. The database Ngā Tipu Whakaoranga provides fully referenced, detailed information on how Māori used plants to survive in New Zealand, before the arrival of Europeans.


  • Harris W, Scheele SM, Brown CE, Sedcole JR 2005. Ethnobotanical study of growth of Phormium varieties used for traditional Maori weaving. New Zealand journal of botany 43(1): 83-118.
  • Scheele S, Harris G, Parsons M 2004. Traditional plant use by Maori. In: Spellerberg I, Given D ed. Going native : making use of New Zealand plants Christchurch, Canterbury University Press. Pp. 15-27.
  • Scheele S 2002. Traditional uses of native plants of the Jericho valley. Lincoln, Manaaki Whenua - Landcare Research. -63 p.
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