Sunday, July 1, 2018

Learning to weave with Harakeke (NZ Flax)

This year is my year of Raranga. Raranga is Maori weaving with Harakeke (New Zealand flax or Phormium Tenax). I should have done this years ago as I have found that I love it. In fact, I think it would have given me a greater connection to New Zealand if I had learned this, way back in 1975 when I arrived from England although maybe I wouldn't have been ready for it then.

Here are some photos of the things I have made in the course so far. It is a one year course at Te Wananga o Aotearoa, in Porirua.

At the beginning of the year we started making putiputi. Flowers made from Harakeke. Our first assignment was to make some sort of flower arrangement and I made a Christmas wreath.

Lily Whakairo



Christmas wreath
We then learned how to make Kono and Konae. Simple baskets and small mats and then pot (hats.
Our most recent assignment was Kete using undyed, green harakeke. As it is green it shrinks a bit as it dries so there will always be gaps in the weave, but the gaps are getting narrower.
Potae (hats)
The two hats on the left were made very early on. The weave is quite gappy. I filled in the gaps by weaving coloured harakeke strips through the holes.

Kete Timata showing gaps in the weave

kete timata showing improvements

Kete Porowhita (round) showing vast improvement!

Kete Pikau (backpack)

Latest backpack which hasn't got straps yet

Kete Kupenga (seafood basket using a special kupenga knot)

Kete Kai (seafood basket)
So that is where I'm up to in class and my weaving is improving all the time. I'm still a beginner and have a long way to go but I can really see the improvement.

Other than the main class I also made a Wahakura with a private tutor.  A Wahakura is a baby bed. These are used where families co-sleep. it helps to prevent SIDS (cot death). The weave is different to the method we are learning in class.
Large wahakura

Thinking very hard

wrestling with an octopus