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Kylie Holmes: Tauira - Toi Maaori

Kylie Holmes and her partner, Harlem Ferrall, had never heard of Te Wānanga o Aotearoa until 2022 when they attended a mau rākau event at the Tauranga campus.

The couple, who are based in Ōhope, quickly discovered the wide range of study opportunities and soon after enrolled in Kāwai Raupapa Level 4.

Harlem chose mau rākau in Tauranga, while Kylie enrolled in raranga in Whakatāne. She’d realised her love for the artform after she weaved a wahakura earlier that year just before having their first pēpē.

“When I found out there was a raranga programme in Whakatāne, that really caught my attention. It seemed like such a great opportunity. I knew that it would be silly to pass it by. I thought it would be the perfect time for me to study while my baby was still young”.

Kylie went back to mahi halfway through 2023, and she admits that juggling life with a baby, while working and studying was a challenge.

With the support of her kaiako and fellow tauira, and with her partner also juggling the same commitments, she was able to complete the programme and proudly showcase her mahi at their end of year toi exhibition.

“At times I was really challenged, but I have a good partner and he’s very supportive. Classes were a bit of me time. I got to socialise, I got to be myself without my child, it was a good balance.”

This year both Kylie and Harlem will continue their study journey with Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, working towards Toi Paematua Level 5 in raranga and mau rākau respectively.

The couple are confident that through furthering their education they will be able to make a positive impact within their young whānau and live out the vision of Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, whānau transformation through education.

“Both of us really enjoyed our programmes because they made us feel closer to our culture, our tūpuna, and feel more connected within ourselves. Becoming parents in 2022 made us realise how much strengthening our pillars will make a difference for our offspring.”

Find out more about our Toi Māori (Arts) programmes

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Published On: 26 February 2024

Article By: Cassia Ngaruhe

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