• Louisa Paul (Ngāti Koata, Ngāti Toa, Ngāti Rangiwewehi)

Harakeke is one of the most distinctive native plants in Aotearoa and is often, mistakenly, called flax due its similar properties. Each plant has its own unique quality depending on the weavers' needs.

Muka, the fibre extracted from Harakeke is known for its strength, dexterity and beauty. However, all parts of the harakeke can be utilised in the making of a variety of articles such as nets, ropes, scents, rafts, medicine, mats, hats, jewellery to name a few. Most commonly Harakeke is used in basket making, cloaks and piupiu.

Examples of the use of contemporary fibres in weaving will be seen in this exhibition which highlights the coming together of two worlds and cultures.

Through the intergenerational transmission of knowledge and traditions, harakeke weaving has survived in the present day.

He Raranga Kōrero: Weaving Conversations celebrates and features work from Te Tauihu harakeke weavers of our past and present.

A weaver's hands are their greatest tools and the dedication and commitment of numerous hours they give to any piece is commendable. With this role also comes responsibility and many of their pieces are gifted to acknowledge relationships or occasions as their hands, and their skills are not that of their own, but of their people.

Living taonga.

Many taonga are used to adorn loved ones during significant life moments both happy and sad. In some instances one could be wearing the same piece their tūpuna did over 100 years ago or more. Accompanying some of these woven pieces are other taonga and they belong together. One does not travel without the other. At any given time these pieces may be called away. Their continued use adds to its mauri and kōrero.

He Kura huna.

Also included in the exhibition is a slide show of photos from the Nelson Provincial Museum archives of unnamed tūpuna, many wearing woven garments. We hope they are recognised and named.

Similarly to the mastery skills of the weavers in the intricate overlaying and threading of harakeke fibres in these exhibition pieces we recognise and acknowledge the interconnectivity and overlapping of whakapapa which adds to the unique and rich tapestry of our rohe, Te Tauihu o te Waka a Māui.

Opening Hours

  • Open daily, 9.30am - 4.30pm


  • 208 Bridge Street
  • Whakatū, Nelson