Whariki MatarikiWhāriki Matariki

Matariki signals growth. It's a time of change, a time to prepare and a time of action. During Matariki we acknowledge what we have and what we have to give. Matariki celebrates the diversity of life. It's a celebration of culture, language, spirit and people. Matariki is our Aotearoa Pacific New Year.

The whāriki is the mat that lies underneath all, it is a foundation that protects, warms and nurtures. It is a traditional craft that fits well with in a modern environment and it is a perfect object to symbolise the beginning of the Māori New Year, Matariki.

Christchurch City Libraries celebrated Matariki 2005 by weaving a whāriki using harakeke (NZ Flax). The weaving took place in eight Libraries around Christchurch during June. Simon Rutherford was in the Libraries on Tuesday and Wednesday each week, encouraging the public to work on the whāriki with him.  The whāriki grew over the sessions to about 8 metres long and over half a metre wide. The finished whāriki is a koha from the libraries and people who work in and use the libraries of Otautahi Christchurch to the Te Kete Wānanga o Waitikiri - Parklands Library.

Photographs of the weaving of the Whāriki Matariki.

The preparation for the whāriki

On Monday 6 June Library colleagues and friends gathered at the Janet Stewart Reserve, where a pā harakeke has been established for weavers. They cut and processed the harakeke into strips, then hapene (scrape to soften) and blanched them for drying for later use.

Simon arrived at each library with the whāriki and strips ready to use. He spent time at each library weaving himself and encouraging visitors to join him and weave a row.

Simon has been weaving for eight years since learning at the feet of Cath Brown, one of the key figures in raranga. He is almost always working on some project and has a regular group and also takes intermediate school classes for weaving experience sessions. His work is available at the Gallery shop, Christchurch Art Gallery, and in Auckland at Pauanesia.