The arrival of European settlers, prepared to trade goods for local resources such as flax fibre, caused profound changes in the routines of Māori life. This group (including a small child), photographed around 1919, are cutting flax from a swamp at Lake Ohia in Northland for sale to a flax mill. The income from this activity would enable them to pay for goods such as the European clothes they are wearing. This type of extractive industry often required Māori to travel long distances from their home communities, and to adopt unfamiliar patterns of work.
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