Harakeke Whetu (flax stars)


Staff have begun to whai whakaaro (spend time reflecting together) while learning about flax weaving harakeke whetu (flax stars).  

Each new star that is woven becomes a visible symbol of the care and honour we have provided to patients and their whānau.

As the year progresses, the number of stars nestled around our pounamu toanga 'Āhuru Mōwai' grows. 


The concept of weaving also captures the spiritual element which is embedded in all our working relationships as hospice staff. Through our work, we become the living expression of Te Kahu Pairuri  (the cloak of compassion) to all those we have contact with.

In Te Ao Maori, the art of weaving is a symbol of the way in which the most fundamental life forms knit together, evolve, and grow, and of life emerging within the movement of love given and love received.

As one flax strand is held in the hand, ready to be crisscrossed with another, the weaver says, "aroha atu", meaning "the love that goes forth." 

When the second flax strand is held in the other hand and placed across the first strand, the weaver says "aroha mai", meaning "the love that comes back". 

The spirituality being described here is that as love is sent out, so it returns to the sender. Love given and love received is a dynamic cycle which continually builds up and nourishes the giver and the recipient.


Aroha atu, aroha mai - given with love, received with love...

Mary Harker, Spiritual Co-ordinator; weaving and reflecting