When Māori arrived in New Zealand, the clothing they wore in the Pacific would have been totally inadequate in winter. This provided the spur for the development of garments that must be considered to be amongst the highest artistic achievements of Māori.
Māori devised a method of producing fine thread from muka (flax fibre) from which they wove garments and other items of extraordinary beauty. At Te Rito, students are not only taught the skills of the art form but also the traditions and tikanga (protocols). In earlier times, learning weaving was a tapu (sacred) and intensive activity. As well as learning how to weave harakeke (flax) and other materials, students learn the stories and designs unique to each iwi (tribe) in New Zealand.