For over a decade, Julie Burns-Nevin has been exploring the endless possibilities and creative opportunities of raranga – flax weaving. In the time-honoured tradition of early Māori whose holistic values and permaculture lifestyle inspire her, Julie has been working with harakeke, native New Zealand flax (Phormium tenax) – an extremely versatile and abundant natural fibre.
She hosts regular workshops in the Coromandel near Whitianga where she lives. These cover how to plait and weave flax according to the traditional guiding principals, tikanga, that surround this artistic process. Check out some of the flax kete she’s been making with her students on her Facebook page.
Proud students with their mahi after a 4 hour class.
An assortment of kete and prepared harakeke.
Julie is mindful of her footprint here on Earth and hopes her legacy will be one that creates a positive ripple effect. She leads by example and lives her life in the true spirit of a kaitiaki – a caretaker of the precious place we all share. She lives in close harmony with the the environment and shares her knowledge about living in a more natural, simple and dynamic way with others.
Her approach to life is captured in the wise words of this whakatauki –Māori proverb: Mā o tatou kete o te matauranga me te whakaaro nui, ka taea e tatou ngāwhiri te ara o te tumanako moo te wā pai. This translates as follows: Together, with our baskets of knowledge and wisdom we can weave a pathway of hope for a wholesome future.
By taking traditions from the past to help create modern solutions, you’re certainly inspiring us Julie.