Turapa Project with Te Wharau School

Kia ora whanau and friends,

Hope you are all well and getting ready for the future that awaits you. We are so lucky to be alive today and I am grateful that you have joined me on the update.

Today I am writing about a project I got the privilege to work on last year with my friend Maiko Lewis – Whaanga  as well as current and experienced Teacher at a few schools throughout Tairawhiti, one of those being Te Wharau School. The cool thing for me about this project was that it was my old school.

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It was around August 2014 that we embarked on this journey together – Maiko and I. Originally this project was started by some of  Toihoukura staff and later on passed on to Maiko being a graduate of Toihoukura as well as myself who invited me to continue and complete the project with her as my major is in Raranga – Weaving. This was a good challenge for me to learn more about Turapa too as the majority of my works are Kakahu (clothing) although I have done bits of Turapa.

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What started as a small project for the Staff of Te Wharau to complete the Turapa soon turned into a School effort where the children were encouraged to participate along with Maiko and myself as we held a few workshops at the school with different age groups (mostly older children) introducing them to the Art form of Tukutuku, its history, materials and tikanga (protocols) of dealing with these resources,   as well as showing examples of these through Te Papa images of Tukutuku from Te Hau ki Turanga – worked on by a group of Weavers that Sir Apirana Ngata organised, while leading the comission to restore them in 1936.

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These photos show some of the children who were involved in working on large and small Tukutuku – Turapa Artworks. Demonstrating their understanding of what we were teaching them – the fundamental basics and practices of Weaving Turapa as well as encouraging them to continue their learning within their own rohe – areas of descent or families, wherever possible and stay involved!

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This was a great learning opportunity for both the students and me to work alongside an awesome Teacher like Maiko and create a network with the school, students and hopefully secure an interest to run this programme again in the future with more schools and students in Tairawhiti.

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Some picked it up faster than others but they all enjoyed participating with their mates and for some, learning something new about their culture added to their confidence and perseverance within themselves to become ‘experts’ in the Artform as well as themselves – a sense of pride.

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Focused little hands and minds that work together can create beautiful results along with a little guided help.

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Overtime, we made good progress to about halfway and the children learnt the meaning of Tukutuku and how working in a team is very important to practice this process – ‘Communication’ between you and your partner is the key.

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Our awesome little workers with their beautiful mahi.

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Thank you Toihoukura, The Staff of Te Wharau School, Maiko Lewis – Whaanga for the opportunity and the students who made this such a wonderful experience to teach and learn as well.

Very soon I will update you on the completion and handover of the Turapa to the school but first I will show you how this project inspired me with one of my own projects.

Thanks for tuning in. Watch this space.

Nga mihi

Lee 🙂

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