Ko te mea tuatahi e mihi ana ki te whānau o Makō ki Wairewa.

Te Wānanga o Aotearoa tauira and Ngāi Tahu kairaranga were privileged to be invited out to Wairewa Marae early this month for a pā harakeke harvest at the pā in Little River.

A closely woven group of keen weavers and whānau travelled out to stay four nights, and took part in many traditional practices of raranga including cleaning and harvesting, preparing and of course weaving the beautiful harakeke grown on the pā.

Our days started early before the intense summer heat hit us and we spent a good part of the cooler evenings cleaning, cutting and preparing the harakeke.

We filled a massive green skip with the debris and weeds very quickly and called Mihi at Wairewa Marae office to arrange another skip as we had three more days of mahi to complete. We all took turns cutting and filling the large tarps and dragging it up to the skip on the hill.

When it was too hot, we found cool places to sit and prepare our muka and whenu for weaving.

The ‘gurls’ all shared preparing the whenu and in the evenings the dye pots were filled ready to go.

Cousin Aroha Timoti shared some putiputi designs with us all and quickly whipped up a few arrangements for whānau in the urupā. Whaea Christine Brown showed us a new style kete and the ‘gurls’ were very eager to try. The outcomes were awesome – tino pai ngā mahi. Whaea Sue Tipene also showed the preparation of piupiu to Patty-Anne, and we all shared many different skills that we had learnt with one another.

On our last night we had a huge kai hākari and were blessed with a couple of pūtakitaki that the whānau had harvested before our wānanga. A big kia ora to Iaean and the ‘tāne’ and tamariki. Linda stuffed the ducks with a top-secret whānau recipe, Christine made a massive yummy trifle and the ‘gurls’ all took part in preparing the awesome feast.

It was a wonderful time to start the new year off with whakawhanaungatanga and mātauranga Māori, and we look forward to going back to start on the bottom terrace of pā harakeke in the near future.

A big shout out to Patty-Anne, Linda, Aroha, Tania Nutira and Whaea Liz Maaka (te hau kāinga o Wairewa), for thinking of sharing our marae and the resources of Wairewa with us all.

Thanks to James Robinson and Paul Skipper for popping in to say hi and acknowledging the efforts of all in the mahi. Mauri ora, nā Tui.

Clearing the gate entrance.

Clearing the gate entrance.

Patty-Anne Oberst weeding back garden.

Patty-Anne Oberst helps by weeding the garden.

Steps that were cleared at the back of the marae.

Steps that were cleared at the back of the marae.

Sue Tipene weeding the pā harakeke front driveway.

Sue Tipene weeding the pā harakeke front driveway.