Reap­ing Rangi­wahia willow wands

The Tribune (NZ) - - ENVIRONMENT - BY BRIDGETTE MURPHY, RE­ACT

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 rang­ien­vi­roarts­cen­tre@gmail.com, phone 06 328 2823 or visit rang­ien­vi­roarts­cen­tre.org/cour­ses-and-work­days.html

PHOTO: WAR­WICK SMITH/FAIR­FAX NZ

Jim Richards and Bridgette Murphy in the RE­ACT willow patch pre- har­vest May 2015.

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