He kākahu, he korowai, he kaitaka, he aha atu anō? The significance of the transmission of Māori knowledge relating to raranga and whatu muka in the survival of korowai in Ngāti Maniapoto in a contemporary context
The art of raranga (weaving) and whatu muka (finger weaving) as traditional Māori arts originate from Te Ao Māori (the Māori world). Such art forms are more than merely quaint artefacts from the past associated with an antiquated past-time or craft of the Māori native of days gone by. On the contrary, these art forms were a critical activity often associated with political decision-making of the tribe, trade and exchange, the clothing of the people and community and the adornment of nobility and the wharenui. Implicit in these art-forms is a set of customary practices (tikanga) and processes which drive particular behaviours. This knowledge was passed down through the generations together with a whole set of language reflecting the significance of the transmission of knowledge across generations and the survival of raranga and whatu muka as we know it today in Ngāti Maniapoto.
This exegesis will critically examine how traditional Māori knowledge (mātauranga Māori) relating to raranga and whatu muka continues to inform the making of korowai within the Ngāti Maniapoto rohe (tribal district) within contemporary Māori society. The korowai, as the artefact, will complement the narrative as it is a cultural manifestation which embodies the tikanga contained in raranga and whatu muka and associated art forms that have survived the impact of colonisation.