Tales of Cook Island language and whakapapa have been told through the art of quilt making.

A workshop, driven by Teena Lawrence from the Whanganui Learning Centre and facilitated by Maungarongo Te Kawa better known as Ron, hosted eight individuals to create personalised quilts.

Acting manager of the Whanganui Learning Centre, Jen McDonald said the workshop followed their 2018 Nga Hekenga community project that involved more than 1000 community members sharing their migration stories.

"As a not for profit community organisation, we are always looking for creative ways to engage our community in education and give learners a platform and voice to be self-determined," she said.


"We found from the previous workshop that reflected on whakapapa can be quite healing."

McDonald said the Learning Centre strengthened people to be leaders in the community and helped Lawrence to achieve this by letting her organise and steer the workshop.

Te Kawa specialises in art and storytelling and has a background in fashion design.

"We try to embed literacy and numeracy into our teaching at the Learning Centre but with these workshops, we like to look at education in a broader sense in the community and creating a welcoming space to learn and grow," McDonald said.

All of the participants had little sewing experience with the youngest participant being 15.

They were encouraged to bring their own personal fabric or anything that represented their culture to add to their quilts.

One participant was from Māori, Irish and Scottish descent and brought an old Scottish kilt to sew into her quilt.

The majority of the fabric was provided by the Learning Centre and other pieces were donated from members of the community.


"We want to offer workshops that people can afford therefore it was just a $10 charge to cover some of the kai," said McDonald.

The Learning Centre is hoping to run another whakapapa quilt making session in the first week of September as part of their adult learners week.