Our work with tī kōuka (cabbage tree/cordyline australis) came as a response to the fact that unwanted leaves ended up in the red (landfill) bin, as they’re so strong and resilient that they couldn't be easily composted.
We seek to elevate this incredible material through creating beautiful and useful items with it.
Tī kōuka is taonga, a valued and prized resource, and is a form of life that is tupuna (an ancestor) to Māori. Here we acknowledge mana whenua as Kāi Tahu, Kāi Tūāhuriri. We also acknowledge those who whakapapa to Waitaha and Kāti Māmoe, who are closely connected to this land.
We use the name tī kōuka because it is its original name, and we observe elements of tikanga Māori when weaving with it here in Aotearoa. This short video gives some more insight to our approach to using local and indigenous materials in craft, as Tangata-Tiriti.
The string-making and basket weaving techniques our craftspeople teach originate from the UK/Europe. Rekindle Founder, Director, and craftsperson Juliet Arnott learnt some of these skills it in England where her family come from. She learnt string-making from a woodlander called Marcus Bennington in Devon and basket-weaving and willow weaving with Norah Kennedy at the Kingcombe Centre in Dorset. Juliet has passed these skills on to our craftspeople who have further developed them with local materials.
Tangata whenua have been string/rope-making and weaving with tī kōuka and harakeke for hundreds of years here in Aotearoa. If you are interested in learning traditional Māori weaving techniques we can recommend contacting the wonderful team at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa who teach it locally. We also recommend the amazing mahi and workshops of the Kahu Collective.