Matariki Talk - Te Rā Project

Picture of hands weaving Te Rā, a Māori sail with strips of harakeke (New Zealand flax). with strips of

The quest to rediscover the lost weaving skills used to make Te Rā, a woven sail.

In 2010 Mandy Sunlight and other weavers started the initial research on Te Rā, the only woven Māori sail in existence. The sail is held in storage at the British Museum in London, where it has been for over 200 years.

Fast-forward to 2022 and the work to recreate Te Rā is continuing with the Tai Tokerau based rōpu kairaranga (weavers), Te Rā Ringa Raupā (TRRR) mentored by Dr Maureen Lander.

TRRR have thoroughly researched and perfected the methods and techniques of weaving Te Rā. They have successfully managed and passed many milestones on their ‘voyage of knowledge reclamation’ to reproduce the ancient sail.

Mandy and TRRR wānanga monthly at Whirinaki, in the Hokianga to achieve their goals. This involves working 12 to 16 hours a day. “It's full on mahi, both physically and mentally” said Mandy.

Come along and hear the story of this remarkable project.

Picture of six members of Te Rā Ringa Raupā and their woven sail.

Te Rā Ringa Raupā members

Ruth Port (Te Rarawa and Te Aupouri) 

Rouati Waata-Ewens (Ngāpuhi and Te Aupouri)

Mandy Sunlight (Tauiwi)

Maikara Ropata (Ngāpuhi and Ngāti Toarangatira)

Makareta Jahnke (Ngāpuhi and Ngāti Porou)

Tessa Harris (Ngāpuhi and Ngāi Tai)

Mentored by Maureen Lander (Ngāpuhi).

Pictures courtesy of Te Rā Ringa Raupā.

Picture of Mandy Sunlight.

About Mandy Sunlight

Mandy Sunlight has had her hands busy weaving and working with the korari for over forty years plus. “I started weaving when I was 8 years old” said Mandy. Later on in her adult years she continued her weaving journey under the mentorship of accomplished artists, Maureen Lander and Toi Te Rito Maihi.


  • Wednesday, 29 June 2022 | 12:30 PM - 01:30 PM


Cafler Suite

Forum North Entertainment Centre, 7 Rust Avenue, Whangārei 0110  View Map

Google Map