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Phormium tenax 'Rātāroa'. Harakeke cultivar.

Name document

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rātāroaratawa See also Motu-o-nui 

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Harakeke cultivar.

1)Following notes from Flax Commissioners Report 1870, 1871:

Kelly, New Plymouth, 1870: Quick grower, matures early.

Taranaki Native: one of best for garment making

Kelly, Taranaki, 1871: Taper, acuminate, bronzy green leaf. Dark purple edge and keel, fading on the upper side.

Constable, Waiuku: Best Tīhore. Varies from 3 to 8 feet, according to the soil. Red edge.

Christchurch, Armstrong; % fibre = 21.6

Waikanae Native; Scarce. (Not cultivated). Very taper, light yellowish green leaf; narrow dark edge.

Plantation established by Bishop Selwyn at St. Johns College Auckland in 1851. Plants obtained on East Coast by Colonel Haultain. The strongest of all the fibres. Breaking strain = 117.

2) Best 1898, 1908: Urewera. Fibre of medium quality. Also known as motu-o-ruhi. [info somewhat contradicts that of Best 1942 and other sources, who rate Rātāroa as a superior variety - Ed.]

3) Best 1942: a superior variety

4) Williams 1971: a superior variety of flax

5) Andersen 1907; tapered leaf, glossy, brown edged with deep purple. Inferior variety. [see section 2].

6) Hector 1889; a favourite variety.

7) Selwyn 1847; Ratawa. Found at Hauraki. One of Tīhore class.

8) "Identified by the lacerated leaf, red edgings, similar to the Tāne-a-wai in colouring. This flax was given to Bishop Selwyn on the 10th October 1851, on his visit to Rangitukia at the erection of the first church, under the leadership of Mokena Kohere. While Bishop Selwyn supervised the building of the church, the womenfolk worked with this flax, weaving and plaiting. This was work that went hand in hand with the erection of all buildings. He was so overcome with the texture of its fibre, its softness and silkiness, that he took over 100 plants to St. Johns College and planted some in its grounds 118 years ago" (Resource notes, Christchurch Teachers College ?? Author unknown.)

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28 May 2007
2 July 2020
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