Māori Plant Use

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Plant Use Details 

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Eleocharis sphacelata. Kuta. Paopao.
FAMILY: Cyperaceae Sedge family
BOTANICAL NAME: Eleocharis sphacelata
MĀORI NAME: KUTA, PAOPAO, kutakuta, kūwāwā, wāwā (names all recorded by Best); ngāwhā (Andersen 1926)
COMMON NAME: bamboo spike sedge; tall spike sedge
NOTES: In the early literature, it is not always clear whether the sedge referred to is E. sphacelata or Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani. Both were used. E. sphacelata is used for softer items - hats, maro, delicate kete, sleeping mats. S. tabernaemontani is harder-wearing.
FIBRE: Used for plaiting mats, kete, hats, some garments.
Potae taua - mourning caps or fillets (without a crown). Worn by widows in former times. Stalks peeled off the outer covering, leaving the white inner part, which was then made into a fillet. Potae taua sometimes dyed (Best 1899).
Description of maro kuta, (`apron') worn by girls, in Best 1899.
DOMESTIC: Coarse floor mats made (Best 1899)
FISHING AND HUNTING: Stems occasionally used to make sails (Best 1925).
PASTIME: In Wairarapa, kites framework sometimes covered with kuta leaves (Best 1925)