This webpage is a copy of the comments received on a blog post on Ali’s original website, The blog post itself is now at “Flax weavers and their weaving”.

9 Comments on “Flax weavers and their weaving”

  1. Kylie Says:

    Kia Ora!
    I love your website! It has so much information and tips, thank you for sharing your knowledge with us. I was just wondering, I live in Perth and am having big problems sourcing decent NZ Flax plants (not the ornamental kind) for weaving. You wouldn’t have any contacts in WA where I could buy some plants?

  2. Ali Says:

    Kia ora Kylie

    I’m glad you are enjoying the website. Sorry I don’t have any contacts in WA but someone may contact you from there if they read this.

    It may be worth going to your local botanic gardens and see if they have any Phormium Tenax growing. They may be willing to give you some divisions to grow or they may let you cut some leaves.

  3. Wanda Lee Abraham Says:

    Kia ora,
    I am having some major problems with softening flax sfrips/whenu already prepared and dyed brought over from NZ. They have been dried out for a year now. I’m just wondering if it’s due to the heat here in Brisbane…I’ve been looking around for any phormium Tenax but no frustrating.

  4. Ali Says:

    Kia ora Wanda
    I’ve kept dyed flax strips for years and then been able to reuse them so you may need to soak the strips in water for quite a long time to get them supple enough to soften again. Try giving them a good soak overnight so they are quite wet and then let them dry out a little before softening them again.

  5. Reina Puketapu Says:

    Kia ora

    Just wondering if anyone makes the harakeke caps. Can’t find them any where. Thanks.

  6. Ali Says:

    Kia ora Reina, I don’t know of anyone but Mere from Meremade Hats may make them.

  7. Pam Says:

    Hey there I am wondering if you can help me. I am trying to find information as to what the cut marks on the pui pui mean? Are there different meanings for the different cuts, spacing etc

    Your help would be appreciated.

  8. Ali Says:

    Kia ora Pam, I don’t know the answer to this so I’ll ask on a weaving Facebook page I belong to.

  9. Ali Says:

    Kia ora Pam, Here’s the replies I received from other weavers (BTW it’s piupiu rather than puipui):

    Wayne: I’m no means an expert, but for me what came to mind was the patterns used in weaving, such as Poutama, Kao Kao etc. Also, when discussing piupiu the kapa haka teams wear, they will have their own kaupapa in the designed pattern.
    Manda: That’s a question that they could do years of rangahau (research) on!
    Rama: I know very little but what I do know is this, my mother, aunties and kuia were piupiu makers from Tuhourangi, Te Arawa. We have the traditional koti koti (cuts ) of 11 small. The longer koti koti were incorporated into the diamond pattern. Mum made her own piupiu with the diamond pattern, another pattern was the steps using long and small koti koti, this story is the steps to heaven.Diamond pattern on the piupiu put together like blocks but from a distance you can see the shape. The same patterns were woven into taniko, bodice and headband.
    Kim: My understanding is the regular striped pattern in the piupiu is referred to as the korirangi pattern which depicts the pattern on the chest of the shining cuckoo. There is a cloak that is named the same. Today many weavers experiment with all sorts of patterns and colours for effect and originality.
    Ailsa: The pattern sometimes depicts the region. e.g. Whanganui area has the mumu pattern or checkerboard pattern. Hope this helps.
    Lacey: I remember my tutor said that the top cuts also help with the shaping around the hips so they drop and sway together instead of stick out