About Te Rito o Rotowhio

“Ko te taura whiri, he whiri i te tangata – The flax fibre cord is like the cord that connects people” 

The original weaving school – Te Whare Raranga – was established in 1969, shortly after the carving school. It was run by New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute’s first employed weaving tutor, internationally renowned weaver, Emily Schuster (QSM, OBE).

Te Rito, named after the baby shoot at the heart of the flax bush, was built in 1994. At this school, male and female students have the honour of learning traditional Māori weaving techniques, as taught by experienced tutors.

Tauira (students) within Te Rito learn the art and skills of traditional weaving, upholding the Māori tradition for future generations.

Today, Te Rito is led by Tumu, Meleta Bennett- who was mentored by Emily Schuster’s daughter, Edna Pahewa. Edna was the Tumu of Te Rito for 18 years prior to Meleta’s appointment.  Through Edna’s influence, Meleta’s role as Tumu is ensuring the time-honoured art form lives on for the next generation.

 

Course Information

An exclusive range of weaving programmes are on offer to male and female applicants 18 years and over.

In the past, the chance to learn the art of Māori weaving was only offered under strict conditions. Today, the protocol has been relaxed somewhat.

Through the NZMACI Act (1963) history the Institute has the ability to award tohu (qualifications) to any person having special training in Māori arts, crafts or culture. The ability to independently recognise and confer qualifications remains a unique attribute of this organisation to this day.

This tohu is for 2 years and is 40 hours per week, 47 weeks of the year

 

Study Programme

During study, the schools weavers have the opportunity to be involved in kaupapa on-site, throughout New Zealand and possibly overseas. The outcome is two-pronged- it fulfills NZMACI’s cultural perpetuation, protection and promotion mandate and exposes tauira to environments which help them see firsthand how knowledge, history and ideas are manifested through material culture.

Tauira (students) are taught the skills of the art form but also the tikanga associated with the practice.

Each programme offers a different opportunity to learn, appreciate and be a part of maintaining the Māori art of weaving.

Tauira are taught:

  • Materials used in traditional weaving
  • Karakia
  • How to weave:
    • tuwhara
    • Kete whakairo
    • Taniko
    • Pueru Māori
    • Maro
    • Kete Muka
    • Whariki
    • Piupiu
    • Taurapa
  • Once Tauira have a sound understanding of how to weave these pieces, they will then move on to developing and refining their skill set

 

Meet The Tutors

Tumu Te Rito O Rotowhio, (Head of the National Weaving School)

 

I have been fortunate to have worked alongside many great weavers during my journey, who have shared their knowledge and skills willingly over the years.
Through their guidance and support and my current role at New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute this has enabled me to share my own knowledge of this art form and continue to pass on the cultural skills and practices of the elders, in turn, creating a link for future generations of new weavers.
I enjoy working with various natural mediums and continue to utilise a range of customary techniques. My art form has been inspired through engaging with and nurturing relationships with the wider indigenous weaving community, through cross cultural indigenous gatherings Nationally and Internationally.

I'm considering study at The National Weaving School

Application for NZMACI

Applicants must be of Māori descent, 18 years old or over and be able to demonstrate a competency in Māori art and/or design and have an ability and willingness to interpret and understand the theory component of this qualification. To maintain the standard and quality of our graduates, places are strictly limited. Applications for our next intake are now welcome, closing date 6th October 2023. Please email [email protected] for more information.

Paper

Application forms are available from the NZMACI office at Te Puia or Download the form here: