Skip Content
Marie Clarke: Graduate - Bachelor of Māori Art in raranga

Te Wānanga o Aotearoa tauira Marie Clarke has spent the last year weaving a korowai hihimā or cloak as a tribute to her late koro Private Natanahira Wiwarena, a 28th Māori Battalion veteran.

“He was 28-years-old when he died his family were waiting at home for him to return safely. He had no wife or descendants so I wanted to ensure that his story wasn’t forgotten because he fought for all of us,” says Marie, who will complete studying for a Bachelor of Māori Art in raranga (weaving) next month.

The Rotorua local works fulltime so didn’t qualify for a student allowance to help finance her studies but that wasn’t going to stop her from completing the degree at the wānanga (TWoA).

“I needed to look at other resources and avenues to support me in my journey and make sure that not only can I start the journey but I can finish it.”

So Marie applied for and received TWoA’s Dr Diggeress Te Kanawa Memorial Scholarship for two years running and has also received a number of other grants through her iwi, as well as the Timaru Māori Trust Scholarship from The Māori Education Trust.

“My job pays for the roof over my head and the grants and scholarships I have received allowed me to put food on the table.”

Growing up with very little exposure to te ao Māori, raranga has given Marie the opportunity to discover more about her culture and Māori heritage.

“Raranga has helped to bring a better version of myself. If you really want to get to know yourself inside, TWoA is definitely the place to go,” says Marie who discovered a passion for te ao Māori and creativity in primary school through kiwi icon, Beatrice Yates.

Not only does Marie give credit to the support from her tutors at TWoA’s Waiwhero Campus, but she also drew support from her hapu, Ngāti Kea Ngāti Tūara, Ngāti Rangitihi, Tūhourangi-Ngāti Wahiao and Ngāti Hhineuru.

“I would have never made it through my degree if I didn’t have the support of my hapu and iwi. It was the simple things, whether it was $20 or just a phone call checking in.”

Once she’s completed her bachelor's degree, Marie plans to continue studying with TWoA and do a Masters in Applied Indigenous Knowledge while, also encouraging others to take up toi (art).

“I’m glad I chose TWoA and I’m really proud to be a part of the whānau. I would recommend Maunga Kura Toi – Bachelor of Māori Art to anyone.”

Find out more about out Toi Māori programmes.

 Back to news & events

Published On: 15 November 2021

Article By: Cassia Ngaruhe



Other Articles

  • 18 April 2024

    Raranga guides new mum back into te ao Māori

    Joy Gilgen had always thought that raranga was a practice reserved for older generations, but after having her first pēpē in 2022, she had the urge to do something holistic and reground herself in te ao Māori.

  • 28 March 2024

    Te Wānanga o Aotearoa honour two founders with new scholarships in 2024

    Te Wānanga o Aotearoa relaunched their scholarships in 2023, and in 2024 are proud to announce the introduction of three new scholarships, two of which honour a couple of the institute’s founding members.

  • 28 March 2024

    Former All Black strengthens passion for toi through wānanga programme

    Former All Black, Kees Meeuws has always had a passion for toi, so much so, that in his earlier years he studied at Elam School of Fine Arts, completing a foundation year and first year sculpture.

  • 28 March 2024

    Stepping out of the corporate world and into the classroom

    Like many parents during the pandemic, Tamara Grace-Tonga had to become her daughter’s core teacher. Quite unexpectedly, this sparked her wanting to change her legacy.