Story: Te Waonui a Tāne – forest mythology

Harakeke plant

Harakeke plant

The harakeke (flax) plant represents the whānau (family) in Māori thought. The rito (shoot) is the child. It is protectively surrounded by the awhi rito (parents). The outside leaves represent the tūpuna (grandparents and ancestors).

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Artwork by Bruce Mahalski

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How to cite this page:

Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal, 'Te Waonui a Tāne – forest mythology - Symbolism of trees and plants', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/diagram/13162/harakeke-plant (accessed 1 April 2020)

Story by Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal, published 24 Sep 2007