22 Feb 2013

Council to preserve prized native reed

10:46 am on 22 February 2013

Whangarei District Council says it will find a way to protect a water reed it has been spraying with herbicide unaware that it is highly prized by Maori weavers.

Prominent weaver Toi Maihi, whose work is shown at Te Papa, says she has begged council contractors not to spray kuta which grows around Lake Waro at Hikurangi, near Whangarei.

She says she's even shown them replicas of items she's made, commissioned by the Government as gifts for visiting dignitaries.

But she says she's been ignored and kuta is becoming increasingly rare.

Whangarei District Council spokesperson Ann Midson says the council didn't know the reed was valued by Maori until Radio New Zealand raised Mrs Maihi's concerns.