Margaret Rose Ngawaka-
Iwi (Tribe)—Ngati Porou, Kahungunu, and Rongomaiwahine
I live on a 148-acre offshore island on the west side of Great Barrier Island, Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand, where my husband and I have raised our seven children. Living here so remote has the challenge of not being able to attend courses of learning on the mainland (New Zealand). But I continue to strive for knowledge and understanding and seek out whatever opportunities come my way.
I learned raranga in 1998, but it has been in my blood since birth. My journey with harakeke is entwined with my whakapapa (family history).
When I learned to plait, I found an aunt I have never met who was an expert weaver of her time.
When I learned piupiu (traditional Maori kilt), I was given a photo of my great-grandmother wearing her piupiu and learned she was a matriarch weaver of her time. This confirmed also that she was giving me permission to carry on with this treasured skill that she once excelled in.
When I learned taniko, it was my mother’s sister, Aunt Hiria Okeroa Waaka, who taught me. My aunt Hiria has fond memories as a young girl being chosen to go pick kiekie and harakeke with her grandmother (my great-grandmother).This reminds me of my duty and responsibility to teach raranga and inspire hope for future mokopuna—grandchildren/posterity.
There are many women more experienced and skilled than I who could have written this step-by-step book. I feel so blessed to have seen this opportunity and ran with it. I always say, “If it’s meant to be—it will be.”