Harakeke An­zac pop­pies


As the count­down to An­zac Day quick­ens, Palmer­ston North City Li­brary has two com­mu­nity craft projects based around pop­pies that are ap­proach­ing com­ple­tion.

Fri­day work­shops have seen knit­ters turn­ing up to make hand­crafted pop­pies for a com­mu­nity wreath, as well weav­ing pop­pies out of harakeke or flax. The fi­nal work­shops to com­plete the projects are this Fri­day April 8 from 10am to mid­day.

City Li­brary’s Janet Ellery says the hand-knit­ted pop­pies mak­ing up the wreath re­flect the ethos of an age where many things were hand-made or crafted.

‘‘Be­ing made by mem­bers of our com­mu­nity re­ally will add to the depth of the mean­ing and feel­ing be­hind the wreath – it truly will be a com­mu­nity wreath in ev­ery sense of the word,’’ Janet says.

All li­brary branches have poppy packs that con­tain in­struc­tions, wool and a but­ton. Ex­pert knit­ters don’t have to fol­low the pat­tern and can cre­ate pop­pies as elab­o­rate as they like.

The harakeke, or flax poppy project had its ori­gins in last year’s place­ment of crosses in The Square for An­zac Day. Re­sponse to the crosses sug­gested an­other such com­mu­nity project would be ap­pro­pri­ate.

The li­brary’s Lau­reen Ruwhiu says the tar­get is to weave 2000 flax pop­pies with stems of var­i­ous lengths, dip the flower head into red dye, add a black cen­tre, al­low them to dry, and have them placed around the ceno­taph on April 22 in time for An­zac Day ser­vices. The weav­ing process is sim­ple, and no ex­pe­ri­ence is nec­es­sary.

‘‘We’re liv­ing and breath­ing An­zac Day at the mo­ment,’’ Lau­reen laughs. ‘‘And Fri­day is the last chance for peo­ple to con­trib­ute.’’

City Li­brary is co-or­di­nat­ing the An­zac Day dawn and civil ser­vices in con­junc­tion with the NZ De­fence Force.

‘‘The Square will look a lot dif­fer­ent,’’ she says. ‘‘Peo­ple can regis­ter to lay a wreath through the li­brary’s Win­dow on WWI web­site, and there’s been a good re­sponse to that.’’

Li­brary staff are en­cour­ag­ing as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble to be in­volved this Fri­day so the 2000 flax poppy tar­get can be reached, and the knit­ted pop­pies fin­ished off so the wreath can be com­pleted.


Atareta Akuhata shows off a bou­quet of flax pop­pies she has wo­ven dur­ing the Fri­day morn­ing flax weav­ing work­shops at City Li­brary.

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