Reaping Rangiwahia willow wands
Hot homemade soup and rolls – that’s what we’ll dine on the weekend of our annual harvest.
It’s time to coppice the willow that the Rangiwahia Environmental Arts Centre (REACT) uses in all those projects around Palmy and Manawatu (and Auckland, Wellington, Nelson) And we’re inviting you up to come join us.
The last weekend in June – June 25, 26, 10am – 3.30pm, is harvest weekend at REACT. Join us at our Rangiwahia base and experience first hand just how renewable, and thus sustainable, coppiced willow is.
Coppicing (or cutting the willow close to the ground) is the first step. The willow then sends out multiple new rods which grow up to two metres in length every year. Later in spring, we take the harvested rods and strip the bark. The finished rods (known as withies) are strong but flexible and ideal for making structures such as giant puppets or lanterns for the Festival of Cultures’ annual lantern procession.
Maybe you’d like a plug (cut from bottom of a rod) or two to take home with you? To plant at home, and use for your own wreaths, lanterns, or living arch.
Coppicing is lightweight work which involves bending and cutting with secateurs. However, volunteers will also be needed to carry cut willow. You’ll need to dress warmly for work – Rangiwahia is 600m above sea level where the snow is coming to meet us
And we will keep you warm on the inside with tea, coffee, lunch of soup and breads and maybe even cake. We are 75km from Palmy, just over an hour’s drive. If you can car-share, or would like a lift out, or would like more info please email firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 06 328 2823 or visit rangienviroartscentre.org/courses-and-workdays.html
Jim Richards and Bridgette Murphy in the REACT willow patch pre- harvest May 2015.