the art of weaving: he whakaaro Māori

I don’t think I’ve included this many disclaimers in any of my posts, let alone in the same month and same series of atua (elemental force, celestial being)! However, I feel inclined to do so because anything pertaining to te whare tangata (womb) and birth is sacred, sensitive and as I’m not a mother yet or mother-to-be - at the time of writing this post - I’m trying to share my kōrero within this realm responsibly. End of disclaimer.

While we’re ahead, let’s add to the list of things Hana can’t do; weaving. Ironic since that’s the title of our post.. but it’ll start to make sense in a few paragraphs time. While I’m not a weaver in the way you may have pictured in your mind: with flax, creating beautiful kete (baskets), whāriki (mats), piupiu (traditional flax skirt) or any number of items - it’s just as well that’s not the type of weaving I’m referring to then, isn’t it.

I often think of identity being made up of puzzle pieces and the more pieces you have, the clearer the picture becomes and the greater your understanding also becomes of who you are and what you’re about. Heoi,

he whakaaro Māori tērā? Is that a Māori perspective, or approach to identity?

I think not.

While it’s still an appropriate analogy, the concept and the art of weaving is much more fitting. The art form that my tupuna (ancestors) perfected, typically includes muka (flax fibre) and/or harakeke (flax), which as Māori, we can trace our whakapapa (genealogy) to. Not to mention the harakeke plant itself, representing the whānau structure; with our tamariki (rito/shoot) at the core of everything, surrounded and nurtured by the more mature, older leaves. I dunno about you, but thinking about my story and my identity as a culmination of different strands of harakeke woven and interlocked together, to produce something beautiful feels a lot more empowering and grounding than flimsy pieces to a puzzle.

Pause for a sec, and take a moment to reflect on your life, as you are right now.

What are the different strands you’ve woven together that make up who you are?

The different experiences, the people in your life, the decisions you’ve made, the decisions you didn’t make… What does the pattern reveal to you? What does it tell the world about who you are and what you’re about? How does this shift in perspective change how you see yourself and what you’re about?

Hai wānanga mā tātou katoa, something for us all to ponder.

Ngā mihi,

Hana.