Another weaving wānanga is to be held at Linton Community Centre this weekend, May 10-12.

The event is held by Mokopuna Ora, in partnership with local community groups, and teaches the wahakura waikawa style to hapū māmā, their partners and whānau, weavers and supporting professionals.

Jenny Firmin (rāranga teacher, nō Whanganui), along with a team of local weavers, will be taking the session, which doubles as an opportunity to share positive hauora messages and connect with local support networks.

Firmin learnt the waikawa style of weaving wahakura from Dawn Kereru from Gisborne in Levin at Te Kokiri in 2013.

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Wahakura are unique hand-woven sleep pods for pēpi made out of harakeke using the tradition of rāranga.

The wahakura is the first kaupapa Māori safe-sleeping pod.

Based on the customary practice of weaving harakeke, the pod is a contemporary solution to help combat Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy.

Wahakura also support Māori cultural values of co-sleeping, promote bonding and breastfeeding, and allow for parents to respond instantaneously to their pēpi during the first few weeks of life.

The wānanga is a partnership of local services in conjunction with NZ Army and Linton Military Camp.

Firmin has developed a method to teach the waikawa style of weaving wahakura with non-weavers, particularly whānau who are expecting a pēpi.

Firmin says teaching whānau how to make their own wahakura will empower them to create their own pathways to whānau ora or wellbeing.

She believes teaching whānau how to weave rather than doing it for them creates further opportunities for whānau to think about how they are preparing to welcome their new pēpi into the world while producing a wahakura that is unique and reflects the aspirations of the whānau.

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The understandings and tikanga/cultural practices associated with harakeke, and weaving wahakura have many similarities with pregnancy, birth and raising tamariki.

For example, Hineteiwaiwa is the goddess of both weaving and childbirth.

The harakeke plant is made up of a fan with a rito /pēpi in the centre, surrounded by the mātua rau/parent leaf and then the kaumātua rau/grandparent leaves.