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    Raranga for Beginners, Weaving with Harakeke (Jan)

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    Event description



    Saturday 21 January 2023 - 10:00am to 1:00pm (3 hours)

    Join celebrated weaving tutor Annie Jane Ah Mu at Kelmarna Gardens to learn the basic techniques of traditional mahi raranga, the Māori art of weaving with harakeke NZ flax. This beginner course is an introduction to weaving that will guide you through the history, customs, and best horticulture practices around working with harakeke, and the skills to come away with a host of craft creations to take home and share. 

    What to expect:

    The session will begin with a visit to our pā harakeke, or harakeke grove, to cover the fundamentals of tikanga, or the customs and protocols surrounding the time-honoured process of mahi raranga with harakeke. You will learn to harvest and treat the rau harakeke, or flax leaves, that you will use for your weaving projects.

    Once the materials are prepared, Whaea Annie will lead you in the skills to craft your leaves into beautiful designs. You will begin by weaving a putiputi/flower to help get a feel for the leaves and how to bend and intertwine them. Then you will move on to craft an ika/fish that you can hang from a leaf spine like a fresh catch on a fishing rod. This pattern helps lay the foundation that you will use as the basis of the more intricate kapohau/windmill and the whetu/star designs. 

    Throughout the session, all of the para, or unused off-cuts, will be collected and fashioned into a puapua/wreath to honour the plant and create beauty from every bit!

    Tickets include: Guided instruction, rau harakeke (leaves for weaving), and 5 craft designs:

    • He putiputi - flower
    • He ika - fish
    • He kapohau - windmill
    • He whetu - star
    • He puapua - wreath

    What to bring:


    • craft knife (fixed, not retractable; for harvesting rau harakeke)
    • scissors (for working the rau harakeke)
    • a refillable water bottle (to stay hydrated)
    • weather appropriate gear (to keep comfortable)


    • an old bath towel (to greatly improve your work station)
    • a notebook and pen (to take notes, if you like)
    • a face covering or mask (for indoors and close quarters)

    Following Up:

    If you enjoy this session and are keen to take your learning to the next level, take a look at joining Annie in March for Mahi Raranga, Full-Day for Beginners, where Whaea Annie will take you step-by-step through the processes of preparing and preserving the rau in addition to manipulation and weaving. It's the time taken to learn and practise these preparation techniques that makes this session last the day -- full of fun, learning, and tradition!


    Annie Jane Ah Mu is a weaver in the Māori tradition, working with natural fibres like harakeke (New Zealand flax) and with techniques of raranga and whatu weaving. From Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, Annie Jane has a degree from Te Wānanga o Aotearoa and has been working in the community for more than 10 years to teach the art, craft, and culture of weaving.

    Whaea Annie works with Auckland Council to provide sessions in Raranga Harakeke at community organisations like Nathan Homestead, Onehunga Community House, and Māngere Arts Centre. She also works with the ACE program (Adult Community Education) to provide classes at Aorere College and Onehunga High School.

    Annie Jane’s passion for weaving is grounded in the harakeke plant, the connection with nature, and therapy for people through the craft. She believes that weaving is not only an important path for learning about Māori art, but an important practice in reviving skills and tikanga/customs from the past to help support people and our community in the present.

    In this workshop, Whaea Annie is looking forward to sharing with you how to start from the plant and return to the plant, to learn new skills, connect with tikanga/customs, and experience for yourself the therapy of the craft.


    At Kelmarna, we strive to make education accessible for everyone. So, where possible, we offer a 35% discount on our workshops to valid Community Services Card holders. If you book one of these tickets, please email us a copy of your valid Community Services Card, and remember to bring it along to the workshop. Please note that this option does not include Super Gold Card holders. Ngā mihi.

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