Tukutuku Tales

As part of the inquiry looking at Māori culture and the inventions that Māori used before the time of British settlers in New Zealand, the students in Room 7, learnt about the rich traditions of the Māori people.

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The focus of our learning was the intricate art of tukutuku panels, a traditional form of weaving and cross stitching that not only showcases patterns but also serves as a form of storytelling. Through this cultural experience they discovered the significance of Māori art and its ability to convey personal narratives.

Before creating their own, students learned about the cultural and historical significance of tukutuku panels in Māori communities. These traditional woven panels are geometric patterns that carry deep meanings and often tell stories of identity, family, and community. Each symbol woven into the panels holds significance, making tukutuku panels a form of visual language that communicates the values and histories of the Māori people.

(Source - https://my.christchurchcitylibraries.com/puawaitanga-o-te-ringa/the-tukutuku-panels/ )

Students began by learning about the range of patterns and what they represent. They also learned about the importance of color and its role in conveying emotions and significant meaning. Room 7 students were challenged to create their own tukutuku panel that told the story of themselves, their family, or an important aspect of their lives. This task encouraged them to reflect on their own identities, values, and experiences. Students brainstormed ideas, sketched designs, and experimented with different patterns to convey their own narratives.

I have used 3 Aoraki patterns to represent me living in Taupō. These 3 triangles on my tukutuku panel also represent me and my siblings. I have used red to represent the girls and black to represent the boys.

I have included a koru on my tukutuku panel to represent an important person in my life called Ryleigh. She is my best friend.

I have used the patterns of roimata to represent those in my life who have passed away like my grandma and grandad.

The pattern poutama related to me the most because I have grown so much in my sports. The poutama stairs represent me getting better.

There were a few challenges in the creation of the tukutuku panels. The cross stitching work proved to be very difficult when making sure that we were making the crosses and not getting the string tangled.

Making sure the holes were in the correct space and copying the pattern onto the front was so hard. But I do like how it has turned out.

I kept getting mine tangled up and kept getting confused about which hole I needed to go through to make sure the cross was in the correct place.

Through the art of Māori tukutuku panels, students found a new level of patience when cross stitching but also developed an understanding of how Māori used visual art to share stories and their history. They have learnt a new way to share their own stories while also keeping Māori history and traditions alive.

2024 Te Whare

Briana Te Whare

Ko Pirongia te maunga (mountain)

Ko Waipa te awa (river)

Ko Tainui te waka 

Ko Ngati Maniapoto te iwi (tribe)

Ko Te Aharoa te marae

Ko Te Whare tōku whanau (family)

Ko Chris Te Whare tōku papa (dad)

Ko Michelle McEwan tōku mama (mum)

I tupu ake ahau i Tokoroa (I am from Tokoroa)

Ke Taupō koe e noho ana inaianei (I live in Taupō)

When I was 11 I decided that I wanted to become a teacher. Straight after high school I moved to Tauranga to study teaching and straight after university I started my first teaching job in Tokoroa. Most of my teaching journey has been in Tokoroa where I have taught from Year 0 to Year 8. Working in my hometown was an incredible experience as I got to work alongside people that I have grown up with and also alongside my own teachers who inspired me. 

Outside of teaching I love to be outdoors. Walks, going for trips in our makeshift camper and exploring our backyard with my partner fills my bucket.


  • Sacha Bradley May 4, 2024, 6:25 PM (2 months ago)

    I love this tukutuku panels... how did you get the pattern onto the black laminated paper? I would love to know. So effective!

  • Paul Morehu Dec 7, 2023, 5:21 AM (7 months ago)

    Well done Room 7 and Miss Te Whare. What a rich learning activity. What students have learnt and produced is amazing. I love the concentartion levels, engagement, and pride captured in your photos. Mahi tika ana (great work).

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