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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 62

Phormium Tenax

Phormium Tenax.

Another of our Industries which must not be omitted is that commonly called the Flax, more properly the Phormium (New Zealand hemp) trade. There are 117 mills and over 3,000 hands employed in connection with the cutting, carting, milling, drying, and packing of the same. The total produce as per last returns was 21,158 tons, of the value of £381,789. Here again we require an improvement in the machinery, so as to improve the quality of the fibre of the manufactured article, and above all to lessen the enormous cost of the labour employed. Unfortunately, owing to the abundance of other fibres with which our phormium has to compete the price has declined so much of late as to make it almost entirely un-remunerative. The industry is indigenous to the Colony, and will doubtless meet with much development in the future.