Weaving a Whāriki

Carol Marks, Professional Learning Facilitator, Educational Leadership Project, New Zealand

Tuesday 3 October 2017

Recently I had the privilege of listening to Mari Ropata-Te-Hei, the conceptual designer of the cover of the updated Te Whāriki and to have an insight into her thinking.

Mari talked about the spiritual connections to whakapapa for flax and the purposes that it is used for, gathering seafood, muku (clothing) and the harder flax being used to make whāriki.
Mari looked at the conceptual connections for the child and that working in centres is the same process as making a whāriki.

Weaving is a central metaphor in Te Whāriki so what does this mean for you in the context of your Te Whāriki journey?

A whāriki isn’t woven by one person, we need to work as a group. Reggio Emilia also remind us that pedagogy needs to be woven with the practices of the centre. Teachers work together, there is no hierarchy but a need to listen to each other.

There will be different perspectives and collaboration as you work with the pattern that makes your whāriki unique. There will be overlapping of ideas, principles and strands and the strength of it is based on previous touches.
Everything connects but you will be weaving one strand at a time.
Weaving a whāriki takes knowledge, skill and time.
Building relationships, interconnections, nurturing and supporting whanau first for the child to move forward.

On this day we also worked together in small groups to weave our own whāriki, only seeing the underside until it was finished. Mari likened this turnover ceremony as being symbolic for the child when learning has strengthened in some way or maybe transitioning to school. It also made us reflect on the impact of personal daily relationships and practice that impacts on the whāriki but this won’t be obvious until a later time.

The open weave in part of the diagram depicts a journey that hasn’t ended and shows the continued weaving of the curriculum.

“The whāriki can also symbolise the child – a ‘whāriki in progress’. When used with this meaning, the colours and patterns of the whāriki represent the child’s developing capabilities across four dimensions of development: tinana (body), hinengaro (mind), wairua (spirit) and whatumanawa (emotion).” (Te Whariki p.9)

WHAKAMANA: empowering all learners to reach their highest potential by providing
high-quality teaching and leadership, strengthening learner identity by valuing a child’s home culture and language.
I have posted a video of Tilly Reedy "Central to the learning is the Mokopuna, from every walk of life, very nationality, every indigenous group.

How are you weaving your whāriki to ensure;

Ko te Tamaiti te Pūtake o te Kaupapa
The Child – the Heart of the Matter ?

To read more blog posts from Carol Marks click here.


Lady Tilly Reedy on 20 years of Te Whaariki