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Remembering your foundation

Updated: Aug 12, 2020

The importance of practicing and reinforcing your skills.

I got caught out recently, I was on a kaupapa and was asked to weave a rourou, something I learnt and practiced early in my weaving journey, something I considered to be basic - that I would easily be able to do. Except when I needed to, I couldn't. I couldn't remember how.

Rourou; a simple woven food basket, woven green and requiring little preparation.

The first assignment of my raranga course, ten years ago, was weaving a rourou. Our kaiako continually reinforced the need to retain our learning. We had to complete ten rourou before she would allow us to move on to our next assignment. And as I was sitting there outside my own wharepuni with my harakeke whenu (strips) laid out in front of me, I felt embarrassed.

I knew better.

The stark realisation I had in the moment was that I had taken my learning for granted, I hadn't put in the work to ensure I was able to undertake what was required of me.

It was an honour to be asked to weave a rourou, a food basket, to hold our offering to the new year. A physical gesture of our intentions for the year to come. An honour I couldn't entirely fill.


Nou te rourou, nāku te rourou, ka ora ai te iwi

With your food basket and my food basket the tribe will flourish


This was a huge lesson for me - everyone has a part to play, a contribution to give and at that point in time my contribution was lacking, because I took things for granted.

I had to admit to someone I look up to, that I had forgotten. And ashamedly ask if it was ok to weave a kono instead.

I've reflected on this many times in the last few weeks and this learning will stay with me forever. Each month I'm going to intentionally weave a rourou and a kono and a waikawa. So that if I'm ever again called on to do this mahi I will be ready.

But the lesson is much bigger than the rourou.

This is a life lesson.

Practice, hone and retain your skills, never think you are too good to put in the work.

Don't take things for granted.

And when its your time to do what needs to be done, do it to the very best of your ability, with the confidence that your contribution no matter how big or small will benefit the collective.

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I ddnt think i was too good to put in the work. I look forward to harvesting and preparing harakeke or whatever for weaving, but when i was asked (very recently) if i knew how to do a rourou, my reply was "NO"... Yes i was taught by my nanny how to mahi rourou but i never retained it due to lack of interest!

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