Pūawaitanga o te Ringa - Fruits of our busy hands

Queen's Birthday Wānanga

By the weekend of Queen’s Birthday, June 2001, a total of nineteen frames were ready for the weaving wānanga. Transferring the frames and all the materials to set up in the library space the day before the Queen’s Birthday wānanga took some time. Five people spent a total of about 14 hours, carrying frames, 'work-mates', buckets and weaving materials from the Farmers Car Park into the Library. Visiting library staff were amazed at the amount of work that had clearly already taken place.

Mae demonstrating
Mae, demonstrating

The preparations for the big wānanga had been a lot of work but it was worth it. The 'workmates' were ready, buckets of kiekie were soaking, and all the materials were ready. After welcomes, mihi and karakia, Mae began to demonstrate the weaving process.

Everyone was able to start weaving as soon as the demonstrations were finished, and with their spreadsheet plan beside them, to have a clear idea of what they were working towards achieving. The variety happening within the wānanga made the progress really exciting. After the months of preparation it was a great experience.

Working in partnership
Working together in partnership, from each side of the panels

Some of the panels began to take on a wairua of their own. The Aorangi School community had specifically wanted to work on the Aoraki panel. Eventually, almost every member of the school wove a few stitches, due entirely to the commitment of their teacher Debra Posa. Hagley whānau were keen to weave 'poutama'; they eventually completed two panels. The Sutcliffe whānau were aware of the impending arrival of a new family addition, while Library staff were weaving teardrops, mindful of a terminally ill colleague who actually passed away during the weekend. Some panels gave the more artistic individuals room for their own creativity.

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