skirt), Mrs Simi said. ‘‘The detail is just fantastic.’’ Many Maori did not get schooled in traditional arts and crafts by older family members any more, so the wananga filled a vital role, Mrs Simi said.
‘‘ It’s like the reo. It went through a period where it was almost non-existent.’’
While the artworks had aesthetic value and meaning, skills learned by students were also practical and could be used to support family members, Mrs Simi said.
Students learnt the whole process of a craft, she said.
In weaving they would study the flax plant, harvest the flax, treat it to make it pliable, dye it and then weave.
Resulting baskets could then be used to collect vegetables or seafood, for example.
‘‘It’s art, but in reality it’s an everyday tool, it’s a handbag, it’s a hat.’’