We aim to build capability of local community for learning about indigenous ecological knowledge, so they are empowered to protect the unique habitats and ecosystem in a way that achieves the aspirations of mana whenua to realise Māori outcomes. Key tangata whenua members of our restoration team bring a Te Ao Māori lens into our work. This helps to inspire and educate our community of volunteers to draw on both science and Mātauranga Māori in their stewardship of the environment.
Harakeke restoration and raranga practices
To support these goals Kaipātiki Projects’ raranga programmes and maintenance of local harakeke is led by Takutai Moana Watts, our Kaiawhina Kaitiaki | Restoration Assistant. Takutai has experience teaching students traditional weaving techniques and sustainable harvesting techniques used in Te Ao Māori. Takutai is trained in tikanga and wharekai, and ensures tikanga (cultural practices, protocols and procedures) are followed and adhered to in the running of our Harakeke programmes.
Takutai is passionate about this work and shares her knowledge freely with our volunteers who are now learning how caring for the local harakeke is an important part of their duties, and they can do so following tikanga. Some of our volunteers are now becoming enthusiastic weavers.
This area of our work also contributes to our restoration aims, making the connection between harakeke and forest health.
Raranga workshops at schools
We have been delivering a series of raranga harakeke workshops at schools. From the first workshop with students, Takutai takes care to ensure students start well by beginning with tikanga.
Covering karakia and fundamental protocol, there is a basic importance to understand that we begin with caring for the plants. Students are taught how the blades of harakeke are cut on an angle to prevent water build up and the amount that can be appropriately harvested from a stand of harakeke. When all blades have been harvested, the careful processing begins with trimming, sizing and softening of harakeke.
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