Hutia te rito
Hutia te rito o te harakeke
Kei hea te kōmako e kō?
Kī mai ki ahau
He aha te mea nui?
He at ate mea nui o te ao?
Māku e kī atu
He tangata! He tangata! He tangata, hī!
Pull out the shoot,
Pull out the shoot of the flax bush
Where will the bellbird sing?
Say to me
What is the greatest thing?
What is the greatest thing in this world?
I will say
The people! The people! The people
“The flax is a symbol of family unity and the maintenance of close family connections, both between generations and among relations. The family of leaves remain within their cluster, just as people remain within their particular hapu or iwi.
The flax plan grows from the centre. The first shoot divides into the father and the mother, and between them a child shoots up. As this continues to happen, the original parents become grandparents and so on, and you can have many generations in the same plant. The new shoot always grows in the middle.
When you cut a leaf from the flax, always cut it from the outside, because if you take the centre it destroys the whole plant”.
“Hutia” by Hirini Melbourne