Weave yourself into waka revival workshop

Published on 21 September 2023


A mission to revitalise a famous Māori war waka, Te Toki a Tapiri, is literally in the hands of Far North residents keen to take part in a weaving workshop series called Tui Tui Tuia being held next week across the district.

Te Toki a Tapiri (the adze of Tapiri) is a significant taonga that has been in the collection at Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum since 1885. The 185-year-old waka tauā (Māori war waka) is in need of fresh cord, woven from muka flax materials, that form an integral part of its structure. The waka has not had any conservation undertaken on it for over 20 years.

Medina Koni, an expert in raranga (weaving) from Ngāpuhi Nui Tonu, will be sharing her knowledge and skills at the Tui Tui Tuia workshop series starting on Monday 25 September, 10am to noon at Te Ahu in Kaitāia.

You can become a part of this important project by lending your hands at one of the workshops taking place throughout the week (locations and dates are listed below). People can also participate in the process of making muka.

The authentic muka cord produced will replace the bindings and lashings when restoration of the waka takes place in May 2024 at Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum.

Te Toki a Tapiri is a symbol of cultural identity and represents the histories of some of the most significant times in Aotearoa. It has connections to five iwi - Ngāti Kahungunu (hapu Ngāti Matawhāiti), Rongowhakaata, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Te Ata, and Ngāti Whātua - who are the kaitiaki for this waka and are connected through whakapapa.

In 2023 Auckland Museum embarked on an ambitious project to reconnect Te Toki a Tapiri with its iwi descendants to revitalise this taonga, restore its mana and share more about its history and journey with communities across Aotearoa. The project Tui Tui Tuia brings together 10 expert practitioners in raranga from all five iwi to harvest and prepare the muka from their rohe.

This project is an opportunity to revitalise vulnerable mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge and practises). The harvesting, sizing, muka fibre extraction, drying and plaiting of muka cord are all specific processes that have cultural knowledge systems required to undertake them correctly.

Come along to a workshop location that suits you.

Tui Tui Tuia workshop locations and dates:

  • Monday 25 September – Te Ahu atrium, Kaitāia
  • Tuesday 26 September – Te Ahu atrium, Kaitāia
  • Wednesday 27 September – Kaikohe Library
  • Thursday 28 September – Procter Library, Kerikeri
  • Friday 29 September - Te Hononga Library, Kawakawa.

You can visit Te Ahu Museum's website for information on this and other programmes.

Photo captions – Medina Koni, raranga expert, plus examples of her mahi using muka materials.


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Last updated 21 September 2023