National Weaving School (Te Rito)
Our weaving school trains students in the art and skills of traditional weaving. Students can do a full-time three year course, or take part in less intensive part-time community-based courses.
Learning weaving traditions
Māori devised a method of producing fine thread from muka (flax fibre) from which they wove garments and other items of extraordinary beauty. At Te Rito, students are not only taught the skills of the art form but also the traditions and tikanga (protocols). In earlier times, learning weaving was a tapu (sacred) and intensive activity. As well as learning how to weave harakeke (flax) and other materials, students learn the stories and designs unique to each iwi (tribe) in New Zealand.
Flax baby shoot
Te Rito is named after the baby shoot that sits deep at the heart of the flax. That baby is protected by two outside shoots, the mother and father. Students learn never to touch the inner three shoots when cutting the flax as they are the nucleus - the family unit, too precious to be broken. Without these shoots, the flax will lose its identity.
Thanks to Te Rito, beautiful woven art has been exhibited overseas as well as here in New Zealand, but more importantly the ancient teachings of our ancestors have been preserved and continue to thrive.