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“Weaving is the medium for me to discover the depth of myself. By being here, I’m weaving myself back to my true life. I was born into this. My mother excelled at weaving and it was always a part of my life, like breathing. But I took it for granted.”
“I didn’t realise how much this was part of our survival. Weaving has literally made up the fabric of the social, economic and spiritual development of our people. Now I’m seeing the value on every level. I believed my culture wasn’t of value. My parents believed our culture wasn’t of value. Studying here is enabling me to reclaim the essence of myself and our culture.”
“This course is still new and I saw a toi exhibition at a Ngapuhi Festival. Someone handed me a brochure and I saw the beautiful patterns that the people from the course here had created. Our stories are woven through visual arts and pattern, so pattern enables our culture to survive.”
“Something of my spirit woke up that day – just like the name of the hymn ‘E Oho Te Wairua. Wake Up Your Spirit.’ I had an innate knowing to explore this for myself. The best part of the course is us coming together as students with a vision to succeed. We’re all willing to put something of ourselves and our money at risk to be here and to support each other to complete our journeys.”
“We’re blessed with really good tutors. Just like with harakeke, we have to strip ourselves back to get to the purity of our fibre. This is a place you can weave something and emerge with a vessel to hold yourself in the world. It reveals the power of love and the power of unity.”
“The biggest challenge for me here, is the research into the past. Looking at the legislation and the way we were colonised is not for the faint hearted. It has resulted in deep unacknowledged trauma. The arts have always given life and sustainability to our culture and I feel that taking this course is a healing therapy. We can re-find our sovereignty here.”
“Studying here makes me want to get steeped in the history of our country, and go on to do a doctorate thesis so I can let the future know what’s possible. My dream is to be healing people from intergenerational cultural trauma.”
I’m a first time weaver but I’ve always been drawn to the materials. Harvesting and working with the mix of materials...
The raranga course at NorthTec built Carolyn’s knowledge and expanded her involvement in her community and the weaving process. Of particular value was the requirement that students go out and teach raranga.
“Within the course we had to go out and teach someone. I went to the Kura in Kaikohe. Since graduating I have been going out and doing wānanga and workshops, and teaching the children. I help when uniforms are needed too.
“I began the course as a first-time weaver, but have always been drawn to the materials. They are a part of nature. Harvesting and working with the materials helps with our inner and outer balance. I’ve always acknowledged Mother Nature when I’m harvesting anything and just naturally say a karakia. The course deepened and broadened that process.
“The course system of learning was very effective from harvest to the point of making, and gave me the opportunity to learn all these processes in depth, it has been very beneficial.”
Carolyn is realising her goal to combine teaching with a raranga workshop at home.