Raranga kaiako Tracey Robens, pictured here helping one of her students, says her art provides her with spiritual space.
Ko Rangitūmau te maunga
Ko Ruamahanga te awa
Ko Kurahaupo te waka
Ko Rangitane te iwi
Ko Te Ore Ore marae
Ko Ngāti Te Korou te hapū
“I think raranga finds you,” says raranga kaiako Tracey Robens.
“Weaving is a place that allows the weaver to navigate an indigenous cultural space that is interconnected with nature, spirituality and creativity,” she says.
“It is an art form that allows for knowledge to be passed down but also discovered in today’s world.”
Tracey is one of three raranga kaiako at the Waiwhero campus in Rotorua, along with her colleagues Margaret Belshaw and Cori Marsters.
Margaret and Tracey have completed their Masters of Applied Indigenous knowledge with Te Wānanga O Aotearoa and Cori won the 2016 Te Waka Toi award. He has also exhibited his work nationally as well as internationally.
Between them they teach tauira (students) from beginners to degree level.
After shifting to Rotorua from the Wairarapa in 2007, following a long time living overseas, Tracey belives that raranga found her. She enrolled in a one day a week raranga course, under the tutelage of Karmen Thomson.
So what exactly has immersion in the world of raranga provided?
“Weaving is who I am, not what I do. It has enabled me to find a safe space within te ao Māori where I can practice the ancient art of our tūpuna. It has also allowed me to adorn my whanau, hapū and iwi in kākahu again.
“Weaving is all about interpreting stories with harakeke. By incorporating a holistic perspective within weaving, this gives a much deeper understanding of ourselves and our culture.”
Anyone interested in studying raranga at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa in Rotorua can contact 0800 355 553 or check out details on this website.