Local Stories: Weaving for Healing & Rongoā - Violet Edwards-Hina

Te taha o toku papa
Ko Tuhirangi te Maunga
Kohunui te Marae
Turanganui te papakainga
Ko Tūranganui te Awa
Ko Onoke te Roto, Ko Wairarapa Moana Te Karu o te Ika.
Ko Tukoko me Ngāti Hinewaka me Rakaiwhakairi me Ngāti Ira oku hapu
Ko Rangitaane me Ngāti Kahungunu me Kaitahu oku iwi
Ko Violet Edwards- Hina ahau

Violet started weaving in 1974 and is still weaving today, always learning and adding to her kete of knowledge through the art of raranga (weaving). 

Violet suffered from anti-natal and post-natal depression while she was hapū with her youngest son. With both of her boys being mauiui, the stress piled up and she said, "My kapu (cup) overflowed. I liked weaving and I needed the rongoā (healing) and raranga was my medicine.” 

Weaving wahakura has impacted Violet’s life in a positive way. “It's an amazing feeling seeing all these babies who have now grown up and had their own babies, who are sleeping in wahakura. Knowing that I am playing a small part in keeping our whānau safe and well is very humbling and I love it”.

Many people have taught Violet the taonga of raranga over the years and she learnt at Papawai Marae, Kohunui Marae and Te Wai Pounamu College in Christchurch.

“I learnt from the Nans, Kohunui and Papawai, at the marae. I was probably 7 years old then and learnt from my Auntys and Nans, my Dad and whānau. When I went to high school Aunty Doe (aka Reihana Parata) and the many Aunties and Kuia who came through Te Wai Pounamu Māori girls College, taught us girls taniko and tukutuku”. More recently Edith Rolls, Hinehou Adams, Joanne Walker, Claire Butler, Nanny Ngaro Carroll taught Violet taniko as well.  

Being a part of ‘Te Rito o Wairarapa’ whānau, who are a group of Wairarapa weavers with Whāea Leslie Ranginui, taught Violet to weave wakamoe (wahakura) and to trust her instincts when weaving. “I had/have the ability, I just needed to believe it and do it,” said Violet.

Her first wahakura was a whiri wahakura and Clare Butler taught a group from Te Rito o te Wairarapa at Wahi Reka Kohanga Reo in Masterton. Weaving both waikawa and whiri style wahakura, Violet believes the waikawa style is the most economical and takes less time to weave, as the harakeke is green, while the whiri design takes a lot more time to prep and the whenu are boiled and/or dyed and can be whakairo patterned. 

“I don't have an issue either way because regardless both whiri and waikawa wahakura do the same job, it protects pēpi, giving pēpi a safe space to sleep.”

Violet says, “Wahakura make a big difference. It gives baby their own moenga with Mum in bed but separated. My hope is that wahakaura are in all homes and marae everywhere and that our babies are kept safe and that all whānau are educated on safe sleep practices." 

Residing in Masterton, Violet is married to Adam Hina of Ngāti Apa descent. They have two sons, Toria and Ngarangitakohukohu and seven mokopuna.

Violet Edwards-Hina with her freshly woven wahakura, from one of our wānanga wahakura with health professionals and weavers from the Wairarapa rohe.

Violet Edwards-Hina with her freshly woven wahakura, from one of our wānanga wahakura with health professionals and weavers from the Wairarapa rohe.