Kia ora Everbody,
I hope you are all had an awesome break and those of us that kept on working throughout.. Ka pai yous.. lol. I hope you are all prepared for work this term and are ready to produce and create artwork as well as many other things. So keep warm, stay safe and keep the passions in your heart pumping and let them drive you towards your goals.
Over the holiday there were a few things happening which I got the pleasure of being involved in. Thank you to my whanaunga Haley Maxwell who approached me to help her students learn the basic tikanga of using and harvesting harakeke (flax).
This took place after her class got the priviledge of coming to observe and participate in a Weaving Wananga which happened at Toihoukura last term based on Flax Paper Making and Traditional Dyes with Tina Wirihana (current Mentor/Tutor) and Glenda Hape (current Artist and Graduated Student of Tina). The class learnt about some of the processes in making both paper and traditional dyes and got to have a tutu also, so thank you to Tina Wirihana for letting that happen. They thoroughly enjoyed their time and went away with some taonga as well as some awesome memories.
The 1st independant class I took with these students was on the Monday of the 1st week holidaes which involved learning about the tikanga (protocol) of harvesting the harakeke plant, karakia before cutting the flax, the cleaning, discarding of rubbish and a mihi to the plant before leaving the site.
Once we finished these processes we loaded the little harakeke we had and made our way to Toihoukura to observe the Tukupu Ake Exhibition in Maia Gallery and many thanks to Steve Gibbs (current Tutor/ Principal Tutor) who allowed us to work on the premises for the remainder of the day in which I did a brief demo of making three kinds of putiputi (flax flowers) the English Rose, a Traditional weaved flower and a simple folded flower. Once finished these were combined and tied to create a bouquet for each person to take home.
I feel very fortunate and humbled to have been a part of this learning process with these students. I hope they all do well and try to incorporate a bit of these practices into their lives.
Moving onto the 2nd week of the holidaes was the Weaving Wananga held at Toihoukura and directed by Erin Rauna (Weaver/Degree student), Aunty Ani Leach (Weaver/Degree student) as well as myself but I was more an assisstant. Thank you to these ladies who voluntarily took the time to share their passion, their skills and their knowledge passed onto them by many other teachers before them.
And so they did, sowed the seed…. to help these students find a better understanding of Raranga (Weaving) whilst sharing the beauty of it (inside and out).
Erin started us off with a korero and a demonstration of preparing the blades into whenu and then discussed the process of hapine (to soften flax). The task was to make a Kono Kete which on the 1st day was a bit hard but by the 2nd day the students were away.
A big thank you to all the people that helped to make this happen and gave us access to the site: (Mama) Denise Te Hau, Steve Gibbs, Awhina Harding and Uncle Derek Lardelli who would pop in here and there and see how we were doing – this would have never been possible without your guys help and support.
Also thank you to Tina Wirihana who helped to organise the event although it did not go to the original plan it did still work out and the students we had over the 2 days were very grateful for the opportunity as well as their tutor Haley Maxwell.
Nga mihi to Erin for ringing me on Monday morning and wanting to take the keen students through a small workshop and Aunty Ani for all your korero, your presence and your help with the students also the two ladies that accompanied you and Nanny Mereaira.
And last but not least the students who came with their tutor and put in a lot of effort over the 2 days – it was wonderful working with yous, helping to direct and overall just being able 2 b a part of something extraordinary – like teaching the next generation skills that should be open to anyone to learn and providing access to these basic skills that hopefully has given them enough grounding to continue learning to work with harakeke (flax).
Oh and thank you to my tane Tom and his nephew Kelly for coming to support the kaupapa and getting involved on the 1st day it was a pleasure to see you participating and enjoying it. 🙂
I will leave you now with pictures and results of the wananga.
Hope you enjoy.