Harakeke, New Zealand’s own skin super-food!
Harakeke (New Zealand Flax)
From Aotearoa (New Zealand) to you, with Aroha (love)
From the core of the earth to the depths of the sea Moana believes in developing products that are meaningful and that enrich the lives of everyone who comes into contact with our Whanau (family). It is with these values in mind that we abide by the ancient Maori practice of Tikanga, sustainable methods of harvesting, collecting and processing all elements of the natural world, and of Manaakitanga, which is the active principle of not only respecting and caring for all living beings but of also developing products that are pure in content and ethically sourced and produced.
The Maori Tikanga - when harvesting native botanicals - is a very important part of New Zealand’s traditional idiosyncrasy, and therefore passed on from generation to generation. The parents will nurture their young into understanding the correct approach to handling nature in order to keep our Ranginui (Sky Father), our Papatuanuku (Earth Mother) and our Tangata (people) in peace and harmony.
In line with this meaningful tradition, this month Moana introduces to you one of our four most important ingredients, our unique New Zealand Flax or Harakeke, as it is known to us. From the plant’s essence to the many uses it has in our culture, we deliver to you the Harakeke’s power of Aroha and Whanau (love and family).
Ancient Maori Wisdom
Harakeke (Phormium tenax) was an essential fiber plant to the Maori people. Each Pa (village) or Marae (polytheistic church), possessed a Harakeke plantation. There were several varieties, specifically grown for their softness, strength, fiber content and color.
The uses given to the Harakeke fiber were varied and numerous. Whariki (mats), Kakahu (clothes), Kono (dishes), Taura (ropes), Kete (baskets), Kupenga (fishing nets), bird cages, fishing lines and even baby rattles were all made from Harekeke.
In Rongoa Maori (medicine), Harakeke also played a primordial role. However, most of what was utilized in this ancient practice, was an extract from the plant’s foliage. The oil from its exceedingly fine seeds was not used at all, mainly because this extraction would have proven impossible for the ancient Iwi’s (tribes). Through modern science we are now aware that the oil from these seeds has high amounts of linoleic acid, stearic acid, palmitic acid and oleic acid. Smaller concentrations of triacylglycerol’s, phytosterols and anti-oxidants are also contained by these tiny pods.
The Science of Harakeke
Phytosterols are steroid compounds similar to cholesterol, which are known to have anti-inflammatory and anti-irritation properties. They will add shine to both skin and hair and improve dry skin by reducing trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL). Phytosterols can also help repair and normalize the turnover of skin cells and aid your own body in repairing itself from sun, wound, keloid scars and radiotherapy damage.
Our bodies do not produce “essential fatty acids” on their own, even though they play a big role in the health of our skin. Fatty acids are responsible for regulating our cell function by controlling the transference of waste and water through our cellular walls. It is crucial to our health that we replenish these acids by making them a regular part of our diet and skin care ritual.
Essential fatty acids can also help relieve acne in a two-fold approach. Firstly, they promote healthy cell renewal, dissolving the fatty deposits that block our pores and cause pimples to occur. Secondly, they help repair the skin that has been damaged by acne and blemishes.
Moana utilizes Harakeke Seed oil and extract not only as a skin softening emulsion, but its’ essential fatty acids, phytosterols and anti-oxidants, make this unique emullsion greatly contribute to your skin’s health. Harakeke and every other ingredient our products contain, have been specifically selected because together they improve the appearance of your skin by contributing to healthy cell renewal and maintenance.
Maori Symbolism and Significance
Harakeke represents the Whanau (family), in the Maori belief system. The Rito (shoot), symbolizes our children and youth, always safely surrounded by our Awhi Rito (parents). The outer leaves represent our Tupuna, our respected grandparents and ancestors. Our Kaumatia (respected elders) – symbolized by the foliage – played a significant role in the survival of the Iwi (tribe), and was believed to contain the most healing and nourishing properties of the plant.
To acknowledge and abide by the Rite Tikanga when harvesting Harakeke, symbolizes to respect and to care for the entire community, not just the plant.
A beautiful poem, written in Te Reo Maori (Maori language), best exemplifies this practice;
Hutia te rito o te harakeke
Mai wai te komako e ko?
E patai atu ahau ki a koe,
He aha te mea nui o te Ao?
He tangata, he tangata, he tangata.
When you slice open the heart of the flax plant
Where will the Bellbird sing?
Let me ask you,
What is the most important thing in this world?
It is people, it is people, it is people!
Moana is certified organic, bio-active and all-natural skin care for ‘Nga Iwi o te Papatuanuku e’ or for all tribes of the Earth Mother.