Dam­aged flax gets the chop

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

Like a bucket with a leak, wo­ven bas­kets and clothes are just no good when the flax is full of holes.

Porirua’s harakeke weavers are so con­cerned about a flax cater­pil­lar ru­in­ing their source ma­te­rial they are or­gan­is­ing a work­ing bee to clean up the bushes in Bel­mont Re­gional Park.

The flax looper cater­pil­lar is new to the re­gional park and could kill the plants if not con­trolled, Whi­tireia weav­ing tu­tor Clare But­ler says.

‘‘This is just a call for ev­ery­body to come back and clean it be­cause it’s given us so much,’’ she says.

‘‘It’s our li­brary, it’s our univer­sity. That’s where we go to learn.’’

Flax is es­sen­tial for weav­ing kete (bas­kets), pi­upiu (skirts worn for kapa haka per­for­mances) and korowai (cloaks), she says.

Miss But­ler and fel­low or­gan­iser, Te Wananga O Aotearoa weav­ing tu­tor Sor­rel Kemp, are hop­ing to at­tract 120 fel­low weavers, carvers and park users to pitch in this week­end.

Vol­un­teers will cut away the dam­aged outer leaves of the flax bushes, al­low­ing the new in­ner leaves to re­gen­er­ate over win­ter.

‘‘You can spray but that’s not a good idea when you have weavers com­ing in, and when there’s water nearby,’’ Miss But­ler says.

‘‘ We need to harvest it thor­oughly, prune it and take away the de­bris, to­tally clean­ing it.’’

All park users will ben­e­fit from the clean-up, Miss But­ler says.

‘‘ The park is well used by peo­ple, and I think more peo­ple will use it when it’s cleaned up. It’s go­ing to look fab­u­lous.’’

The clean-up will also rid the flax of a spit­tle­bug in­fes­ta­tion which is caus­ing fur­ther dam­age, Ms Kemp says.

If the work­ing bee is suc­cess­ful it will be re­peated in Plim­mer­ton, where flax pests are also a grow­ing prob­lem, she says.

Harakeke clean- up week­end, Satur­day April 14 and Sun­day April 15, 10am to 3pm. Meet at Bel­mont Re­gional Park en­trance be­hind Can­nons Creek shops. Bring gum­boots, gloves, stan­ley knives. Weather can­cel­la­tion will be an­nounced on 2ZB ra­dio.

Ho­ley mess: Weav­ing tu­tors Clare But­ler and Sor­rel Kemp say Bel­mont Re­gional Park’s flax bushes are use­less for weav­ing and may die from a cater­pil­lar in­fes­ta­tion. They are or­gan­is­ing a com­mu­nity clean-up this week­end.

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