Rauaroha - korowai
The korowai was completed in July and presented to Dr Karyn Paringatai (University of Otago) - the 2014 Prime Minister's Supreme Awardee for the national Tertiary Teaching Excellence Awards (TTEA).
This was the starting point for a new TTEA tradition. At the 2015 awards dinner on August 11, Karyn placed the korowai - named Rauaroha - on the shoulders of this year's Prime Minister’s Supreme Awardee, Associate Professor Suzanne Pitama (University of Otago).
The story of Rauaroha
The karakia (ancient invocation) Te Hokai tells the story of how Tāne-nui-ā-rangi climbed to the uppermost of the twelve heavens to obtain the three baskets of knowledge – te Kete Tuauri (sacred knowledge), te Kete Tuatea (ancestral knowledge) and te Kete Aronui (life's knowledge).
When he reached the entrance to the uppermost heaven, Tikitiki-o-Rangi, Tāne was met by the spirtual beings that guard its doorway. After undergoing a ceremony, Tāne was guided to Io (the supreme being) who questioned him about the reason for his visit. Tāne was then taken to a place called Rauaroha, the home of the male and female beings of Tikitiki-o-Rangi, where he underwent ritual ceremonies to prepare him to receive the knowledge.
The name Rauaroha has therefore been chosen for the korowai that will be worn by each recipient of the annual Prime Minister’s Supreme Award, as it is a chiefly garment that recognises the mana of the award and the person who receives it.
Te Atiawa weaving expert Veranoa Hetet constructed Rauaroha entirely from muka (flax fibre) and bird feathers. It took six months to complete and is the result of painstaking and fastidious work. During that time Veranoa allowed her hands the luxury of just three weeks rest. Find out more about Veranoa.
Rauaroha has been created using traditional methods handed down through six generations of Veranoa’s whānau. Veranoa says korowai are made to last and are based on the longevity of similarly created Māori chiefly garments, meaning Rauaroha will last for more than three hundred years. More from the process of creating Rauaroha.
Ako Aotearoa acknowledges Veranoa’s contribution to the Tertiary Teaching Excellence Awards.
Find out more about the Awards.