Studying toi (art) at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa has opened up a whole new world and understanding of te ao Māori for Talia Grocott.
The Taumarunui local comes from what she says is a very European family, but since completing the level three Certificate in Māori and Indigenous Art she has a whole new appreciation for her local community and the Māori culture that is celebrated throughout the town.
“I feel more connected to my community and studying this programme has made me open myself up to the Māori culture and language and I’m trying to bring it more into everything I do,” says Talia who is a stay at home mum.
Talia is kept busy raising her three boys, aged eight, six and three, so finding the time to be able to tap into her long time passion for art has been somewhat of a life changer.
After looking around for online art programmes with a focus on te ao Māori, Talia came across the toi programme being offered at TWoA’s Taumarunui campus and knew that’s what she had been looking for.
“I couldn’t find anything that answers the question of, are these the right patterns and what do they actually mean and symbolise. So when this programme came up, I thought why not give it a shot? It’s free and it’s local and I ended up loving it.”
Since completing the level three programme, Talia has enrolled to study the level four Kāwai Raupapa Certificate in Māori and Indigenous Art which is now being offered at TWoA’s Taumarunui campus.
“Now that I’ve completed the level three programme I can walk down the street and I know what the local carvings are and what they mean and I’m teaching my children. Learning more on the next level will also help me grow my childrens knowledge of who they are and what their country is about.”
The level four programme will be taught by local kaiako, Tiffany Makoare who was once a TWoA tauira (student) and someone who Talia speaks highly of.
“Tiffany is an amazing kaiako. She’s been where we are so she knew how to teach us and it wasn’t overwhelming. She made me realise that I can do something with my art just like her.”