The first two wānanga (workshops) for the project were held at the Janet Stewart Reserve. Members of Ngā Puna Waihanga were taught how to identify and harvest the tall kākaho stalks of the toetoe.
The stalks were all trimmed at the site, the flower heads returned to the soil and the kākaho stacked and taken away to dry naturally by standing in an airy space, in preparation for fitting into the frames.
Between 24 April and 8 May, five workshops were organised at the Sullivan Avenue site of Christchurch Polytechnic to build the frames for the tukutuku panels, with the assistance of Applied Technology Course Supervisor, Gary Ashby.
Frames were cut and shaped from lengths of timber, mitred, glued and stapled, and sanded ready for the second stage, that of inserting half round timber slats. After experimenting, a template was devised to assist with even spacing and the half rounds were also glued and stapled.
Then the prepared frames were painted, the surrounds black, the half rounds in combinations of red ochre, yellow ochre and black with paint that was kindly donated by Benjamin Moore’s Wrights Road Store.
The next stage was tying the dried kākaho into the frames at one of many wānanga that were held in Mae Taurua’s garage. The kākaho were lashed vertically, at right angles behind the painted half rounds. They had to comprise even or odd numbers, according to their intended weaving pattern. Supplies of weaving fibre were gathered; some of the white kiekie was dyed black, some was retained white, and golden pīngao grass was collected in readiness.
This page reproduces information from page 12 and 13 of the booklet Pūawaitanga o te Ringa - Fruits of our busy hands