Mechanising Fibre Production: The New Zealand Flax Mill Project
Flax has a long history of use in New Zealand. It was a crucial source of fibre in traditional Māori society, and later sparked the interest of shipborne Europeans, always on the lookout for fibre to make rope. Characteristics of New Zealand flax (Phormium tenax) made it difficult to process by methods used in the northern hemisphere and it was not until the invention of specialist machinery and adaptation of powered mills in the mid-19th century that it became possible to sustain commercial levels of production. This thesis provides the first attempt to document the archaeological footprint of this industrial phase of production, which endured through multiple highs and lows, largely in correspondence with global periods of war, from 1860 when the first mill was established, to the 1970s when the last mills closed.
Advisor: Smith, Ian; Thomas, Tim
Degree Name: Master of Arts
Degree Discipline: Archaeology
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: New Zealand; HistoricalArchaeology; IndustrialArchaeology; Flaxmilling; Archaeology; Historical
Research Type: Thesis