Maori weaving courses lead to home enterprise

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Maori weaving courses at NorthTec have helped launch a productive business at home in Kaitaia with the skills gained on both the Certificate and Diploma in Maori Weaving at NorthTec.

Kaitaia’s Susan Clarke has been able to establish a productive enterprise in weaving at home.

“I don’t want to put myself on a pedestal or anything, but I am pleased for myself and what I have been able to achieve at NorthTec. It taught me a lot about Te kanga Maori and finding myself as a Maori.”

Susan said the Te Pokairua Ngapuhi-Nui-Tonu-Te Raranga or Diploma in Maori Weaving (Level 6) that she has just graduated, she described her journey as “the best experience I have ever had.”

The skills that Susan learnt on the courses have been used to create her own enterprise at home, where she makes woven items to order. Susan said that most are private orders generated from word of mouth, but she has also supplied tourist information centres and other local organisations with her woven art pieces.

Raranga tutor, Te Hemoata Henare, said that while studying at NorthTec, Susan was asked to exhibit some of her work for an exhibition at Turangi, at the southern end of Taupo, where Susan’s whakapapa originates. The success of this exhibition inspired her to continue on with the art form.

Te Hemoata said that Susan is also committed to supporting community projects, whanau, h?pu and iwi.

Susan commented that the style of tutoring provided by NorthTec offers more than just learning weaving, but also taught her a lot about herself as Maori.

“With weaving, I found something that I really wanted to get into. I will never tire of weaving as through it, I have discovered an outlet for my creativity,” Susan explained.

Susan also had a message for her people saying that while Raranga (Maori weaving) is not for everyone, being able to work with your hands and using natural resources gives the potential to be doing something creative “rather than relying on social welfare”.

“There is no reason why our own people cannot be doing something like this to get ahead,” she said.

On Friday at Forum North, Diploma and Degree students that graduated had their education milestones acknowledged and celebrated with the rest of the Northland community.

Prior to the official ceremony at Forum North at 2:00 pm, the graduants took part in a celebratory procession through Whangarei city centre where they received warm applause and acknowledgement for what they had achieved by the public.

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