- Kaiako John Turi-Tiakitai (left) beginning the making of a kete whiri (basket) and Margaret Belshaw (wearing a kahu weka she created).
The level four COVID-19 rāhui has meant education providers all over the country have had to pause face-to-face teaching but that didn’t stop Bay of Plenty Te Wānanga o Aotearoa tauira (students) gathering for their usual three day noho recently.
With the end of year approaching fast, this was a crucial time for tauira to be in class and learning, so their kaiako had to get creative, setting up virtual noho all across the country.
Both certificate and degree level raranga (weaving) tauira from Bay of Plenty and Hawkes Bay were able to come together for a three-day noho over Zoom, something they wouldn’t usually do out of lockdown.
“What we are doing with our noho is bringing in key speakers who speak for about an hour and then we open it up to the tauira,” says Margaret Belshaw, who has been a kaiako at TWoA for over ten years.
Weaving itself is practical and hands on, making it difficult to teach over Zoom, which is why the virtual noho has been a good chance for kaiako to teach the more in-depth side of the artform.
“There was five of us (kaiako) that could contribute and lead sessions. Each presented in a different way and different angle, but it was all about that concept of what is a weaver, what is weaving about and where does it fit in te ao Māori,” says kaiwhakahaere (manager), John Turi-Tiakitai
“We focussed it (noho) on more of that indepth understanding of tikanga, understanding the artform, understanding what it means in te ao Māori and trying to get the students to see what it means for them,” says John.
In November, TWoA’s te Whare Pora (weaving) tauira will be holding an exhibition where their pieces will be displayed, making it even more important that they continued noho throughout lockdown.
“A lot of them, especially the degree students are finishing their pieces off for exhibition so they get to sit there and weave while they listen and learn,” says Margaret.
The exhibition is called, Te Rerenga, and will be open to the public from Monday 8 to Thursday 18 November, in the Rotorua Lakes Council rooms.