A three-day rāranga (weaving) workshop will be held at Piritahi Marae on Thursday next week with teacher Maikara Ropata.
“The whole purpose (kaupapa) of this course is about the sustainability of a resource that is freely available in many places on Waiheke Island – the kōrari/harakeke. This versatile plant is used for making many products including kākahu (cloaks), kete (baskets), rope, nets and medicines,” Maikara says.
Flax has been used for centuries in several ways. It was, for instance, essential in boat building and sail making.
The course that starts with a pōwhiri at the marae at 5pm on Thursday 29 November, introduces beginners to the art of weaving and extends the learning for those who already know how to weave.
“This course is more than weaving. It offers an opportunity to connect with Papatūānuku (Mother Earth), and to learn how to respect and look after the plant, how to prepare it and what tools to use,” Maikara says.
She says the wānanga (university) encompasses everything, including relationship development, by sharing knowledge and wisdom with others.
“Participants learn skills and also receive knowledge, which makes it a whole experience. Sleeping together in the marae embellishes it.”
The workshop is offered through Waiheke Adult Learning Centre and is a collaboration with Pā Te Aroha Weaving Group. It has been offered before, and one earlier attendee was particularly happy to join as her ancestors had done weaving with palm leaves.
“I enjoyed every single moment of it,” Osher Oriyah says.
“Sleeping in the marae was one of the highlights of the experience. I felt embraced by the ancestors’ loving presence and had a peaceful sleep.”
Although she was at first hesitant with her skills, the gentle, patient guidance from her tutor got her so excited that she didn’t want to stop weaving and she made both baskets and bracelets.
“In the final sharing, tears streamed down my face as the love and connection between us all was felt strongly in my heart,” Osher says.
The course ends on Sunday 2 December at 9.30am with a karakia. All levels are welcome and accommodation is provided.
The cost is $130. For more information, see wal.org.nz •