Topics: Arts, Entertainment

A house made out of raupo (flax) and exhibited in Whakatāne

By Taroi Black
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

A woman from Opotiki, Tangimoe Clay is exhibiting a collection of Art pieces made out of raupo, one of those pieces was woven into the form of a wharenui which has showcased in Whakatane.

Tangimoe Clay says, “The weavers of today basically just used a lot of flax and I like to step outside and check out other resources that we use to use and bring them back alive.

The 100 fibers of raupo were collected from her local town in Opotiki in a matter of two days. It took her two months to construct the whare raupo (house made out of raupo).

“Traditionally raupo was used for fetching, all forms of making whare. As well as bedding, the roots were made into biscuits and things to eat. So it was a very vital source of our lives back in those days.

The exhibition also showcased raupo poi. Opotiki Mai Tawhiti was also the first haka team to perform with raupo poi.

“Raupo hasn’t been showcased on a national stage in 33 years. It’s because most weavers choose not to use it, it’s not a cerebral product.

Opotiki Mai Tawhiti kappa haka tutor, Te Kahautu Maxwell says, “She’s a master weaver in all facets of flax and other natural resources from home.”

Tangimoe believes the difference with Raupo is the resource our people used when migrating to Aotearoa for homes, rain capes and clothing before they discovered the beauty of Harakeke.