About Te Rito

“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.

Students within Te Rito to learn the art and skills of traditional weaving, upholding the Māori tradition for future generations.

Today, Te Rito is led by Emily Schuster’s daughter, Edna Pahewa, 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

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.

Depending on the programme, students are taught:

  • Materials used in traditional weaving
  • Karakia
  • How to weave:
    • Kete
    • Piupiu
    • Whariki
    • Pueru Māori
    • Taurapa
    • Taniko
  • How to use techniques including
    • Taniko (finger weaving)
  • Once students 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

Meleta is Tumu of Te Rito (Head of the National Weaving School). Previously a weaving tutor at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa in Rotorua, Meleta has shared her knowledge of this art form for the last 10 years. Passing on the cultural skills and practices of the elders and creating links for future generation of weavers. Although contemporary, Meleta’s work is influenced by and utilises customary techniques and materials with examples of her work exhibited nationally and internationally. Most recently she has been engaging with the wider indigenous weaving community, through cross cultural indigenous gatherings both here in Aotearoa and the U.S.A.

Teresa was inspired to take up the art of weaving as a child, learning and watching the likes of her nan, Merepeka Naira King, Noelene Matenga and the late Emily Schuster (QSM, OBE) as they demonstrated – at an early age – the mastery involved with the weaving profession and she has not looked back ever since.

Apart from her own whanau, weaving and teaching others how to weave is her life. She enjoys experimenting with traditional and contemporary techniques and has travelled nationally and internationally promoting her craft.

Hectorina became a Pouako at Te Rito in 2005, enabling her to pass on the skills and knowledge of whāriki (intricate mats) and weaving, as they were handed on to her.

Hectorina enjoys educating roopū in their own ancestral areas enabling iwi (tribes) to deliver programmes that require her expertise and assistance. These kaupapa (projects) include: Tanatana Marae kapa haka uniforms – Waimana 2007 and Te Wheki Marae tukutuku panels – Rapaki 2010.

Hectorina insists that her mahi (work) at Te Rito is her way of giving back to Te Arawa (local tribe) and the tutors that taught her the legacy of weaving.

I'm considering study at The National Weaving School

Application for NZMACI

We are now seeking applications for Te Rito (National Weaving School). Applicants must be of Māori descent, Male 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 these positions close at 5PM, 15 July, 2022. Please email gracehiini@gmail.com for more information.


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