Tradition in safe hands

Last updated 10:09 20/11/2012

Close knit: Weaving students nanny Mei Whanga, left, and whaea Rau Sparrow working on pieces for the Koraunui Marae weaving group's upcoming exhibition.

Tikanga: Mahi (work) by the Koraunui Marae weaving group that will be included in the upcoming exhibition.

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A year's work by a group who have been learning the tikanga (traditions) of Maori weaving will feature in an exhibition at Koraunui Marae, Stokes Valley.

Te Roopu Raranga o Koraunui, a weaving group, comprises people from Koraunui Marae and nearby Pomare community.

Weaving courses were held at Koraunui and run by Te Wananga o Aotearoa.

Students were taught basics, from customs such as waiata (songs) and karakia (prayers) that accompany weaving, and how to harvest and prepare weaving materials. They learned to make bundles of harakeke (flax) flowers.

Students built on these techniques to practise weaving whariki (mats), kete (baskets) and pikau (backpacks), learning different patterns, how to dye the harakeke different colours and incorporate different materials and ornaments.

Tutor Frank Topia said the classes form important community bonds as the students work together and encourage each other; and their children play together while they work.

"It's important to keep our traditions, especially for Maori, and even for non-Maori who want to learn. It's open for everybody in order to keep our traditions; it's open and shared," he said.

Next year a new introductory class will be run and many from this group will continue to advance their skills, with the option of continuing on to a diploma or degree, Mr Topia said.

Anyone interested in joining the group next year, or seeing the work and learning more about raranga (weaving) is invited to the exhibition opening on Friday, November 23, There will be a powhiri, catwalk display of the group's work and kai from 3pm at Koraunui Marae.

The exhibition will continue the next day at the marae and is open to all to come.

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- Hutt News

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