No one knows better than the Te Roopu Mahi Kākahu group how culture weaves people together. Not only were people gathered at The Lost Springs last Friday to enjoy the newly instated public holiday, but also to view the cultural garments that the Te Roopu Mahi Kākahu weaving group presented to the crowds on Matariki, known as kākahu. It also happened to be the group's one year anniversary, which they wanted to share with the public on Māori New Year, the day of reflection, planning and sharing.
Each weaver presented what they had woven over the past year, including a full sized kākahu and a smaller one between 11:00am and 3:00pm where audience members and onlookers were privy to demonstrations and an impressive catwalk. With each viewing of a members’ kākahu a bio was read out of what their mahi symbolised to and about the individual weaver. To say it was a moving ceremony would be an understatement. Many members chose to weave their kākahu’s with their whakapapa and whānau in mind, weaving a cloak that tells of where they come from and essentially who they are.
Alan Hopping, owner of The Lost Springs, who generously rented out the venue for the weaving group free of charge, comments that he was “absolutely moved” by the event. “We are so privileged to have been able to have provided the venue today,” says Alan. “I am inspired and humbled by the Te Roopu Mahi Kākahu weaving group’s work. It makes you realise how much more we can do to bring Māori events to the forefront of people’s minds. I would love to be able to help facilitate this further in the future.”
“I’m so proud of all of our members today who showed off their stunning work,” says expert weaver and kaiako (teacher) of the Te Roopu Mahi Kākahu weaving group, Deborah Phillips. “I also feel extremely blessed that we were able to celebrate our very first officially recognised Matariki with everyone at the beautiful Lost Springs. Even the fact that we now have the opportunity to go to cultural events where Māori art is out in the public and is celebrated is an incredible milestone that everyone who participated should be very proud of.” Deborah reveals the exciting news that the Te Roopu Mahi Kākahu weaving group will now have space to introduce two new members every month into their weekly classes and if anyone is interested to reach out to Whitianga Social Services. “We also plan to make this an annual event, bigger and better too.”
Pictured are the members of Te Roopu Mahi Kākahu weaving group, from the left: Susan Griffiths, Adrienne Jervis, Bess Kingi Edmonds, Sandy Gaskell, Jo Kaaho, Vicki Southon, Deborah Phillips. Front: Pounamu Ngauamo.