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Patu Muka HC83

Wooden harakeke (flax) pounder made from Manuka.

Patu means to hit or strike. Muka is the fibre from the harakeke leaves.

The patu muka (flax pounder) was used to pound the inner fibres of the harakeke. Harakeke had numerous uses including clothing, hunting, mats, plates, ropes, baskets, fishing lines, fishing nets and medicine.

Muka was the primary fibre used for weaving clothing, and was also used for making ropes and cords. Prepared by scraping, pounding and washing, it is a key material in māori traditional textiles where it is also used in tāniko or twined weaving.

Mussel shells were used to separate the fleshy part of the leaf from the fibre. Commercial extraction of flax fibre in New Zealand began with the invention of flax mills in 1860 and continued until 1970 when synthetic fibres took over.

Find out more ...

> Native plants and their traditional uses by māori

> Flax and Flax Working

date: 1700

max dimension: 275mm

subject area: Social Science, Maori and Pacifica, The Arts

specific themes: Māori, taonga, weaving, harakeke, Te Taiao

handling collection number: HC83

Handling information:
To Handle
Additional information:
Caution Required
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