Two students with vastly different reasons for studying raranga (weaving) will have work exhibited in Tauranga next week.

An exhibition of the work of Te Wananga o Aotearoa ki Tauranga Moana's raranga students opens on Monday featuring the variety of work, including tukutuku (lattice work panels), kete, korowai (cloaks) and wahakura (sleeping basket).

"I am from a family of weavers," says second year student Whetukiaterangi (Tuki) Te Arihi, "but I was too busy with life to get down and learn, so I wanted to be taught properly."

With the family members who could have taught her now passed, Tuki turned to Te Wananga o Aotearoa to learn.


"I am learning it to keep Maori arts and crafts alive and so I can pass it on to my children and grand children."

Alison, who isafirst year student, decided to take the raranga course after learning Te Reo Maori with the wananga and visiting last year's raranga exhibition which "blew me away".

"I am Pakeha and was learning Te Reo and I felt the need to learn about the culture of the indigenous people of the country I grew up in, but didn't know. We are really so lucky to be able to learn this," she says.

The fact that, as a Pakeha, Alison wants to learn about Maori crafts is exciting for Tuki. "For me, to keep it alive, we need the help of other New Zealanders to get it mainstreamed, and for it to live on in our country."

Not only do students learn the skills of Maori flax weaving, they learn a great deal about the native plant. "We learn about planting flax, about how to grow it and nurture it, and are made more aware of the environment," says Tuki.

"All that comes into play - we learn to look after our resources and learn respect for the flax."

First year students learn how to make kete (baskets) for various uses, whariki (mats) wahakura and potae (hats). In the in second year tukutuku, piupiu (flax skirt) and korowai are made.

The course tutor is Bibbins Tangitu. "For her near enough isn't good enough," says Tuki. "She has high expectations so you reach up to meet them - she pulls it out of us."

The exhibition is open from Monday until Thursday next week at 60 Durham St. It is open 10am-3pm, except on Wednesday when the exhibition is open until 9pm.