Activity for ‘Weaving’


by Rejieli & To

Set in Fiji, this is a beautifully crafted story about the Pacific tradition of weaving. Using simple, repetitive language, the story describes how each person weaves for a specific purpose – whether it be a bag, a hat, a mat, a basket. The story presents an interesting slant on the idea of “weaving”, when it tells how “Grandma is weaving a long, long story”, thus highlighting the value placed on oral traditions in Pacific Island cultures as well.  The black and white illustrations are detailed and emotive, and draw the reader into the images of the Pacific.

This book was nominated for the collection because it shows Pacific Island tradition and art, and could be used very effectively by teachers in classrooms, to teach weaving as an art/ technology topic.

Activity: WEAVING (The Arts/ Technology)

Curriculum Level 1, 2 & 3 (see curriculum links at the end of the activity)

NZC Key Competencies

  • thinking
  • using language, symbols and text
  • participating and contributing
  • managing self


In this book we see the many different uses for flax weaving, as well as the value of these flax-woven every-day items in the daily lives of the Fijian people.In this activity children learn how to weave using firstly paper strips, and then they may even have a go with flax.

1.     Read the story with students and identify all the useful things which can be made with flax: bangles, hats, baskets, fans, thick cords, fishing traps and nets, roof thatching, mats, wristlets and skirts (clothing).If possible, have some of these items available for children to look at and hold.

2.     Have a go at practising the skills of weaving: give children 2 different coloured strips of paper. One colour may not be cut all the way, so that this provides a “base” for weaving in the other colours.

3.     Demonstrate how to weave in and out of the “base” strips. Repeat with each strip, alternating the “over and under” pattern each time.

4.     When all of the strips have been woven in, they can be stapled into place.

The children will have each made a small, colourful mat, which could be used as a place mat at their tables or displayed on the wall.

You could then go on to have a go using real flax.

  • Please take note of the protocols involved in cutting and taking flax – see website listed in “Materials” section for details.

Ask: why might people choose to use flax rather than paper to make items like roofing and baskets?

  • because it is hard-wearing and waterproof, and readily available in the South Pacific

Children could repeat the activity using flax instead of paper.

At Levels 2 and 3, they may then go on to have a go at weaving an item, such as a basket or kete – see “taking it further” for ideas on this.


  • paper strips
  • flax – please note protocols for cutting and taking of flax:

Taking it further

 Once children have mastered the skill of weaving, they could learn how to make bags, bangles, skirts etc…. Use ideas from the story to decide what they are going to make. This will bring in the technology aspect of the activity – making something for a particular purpose. See these websites for “how to” instructions on weaving useful items:

Curriculum Links Visual Art

  • Share ideas about how and why their own and others’ works are made and their purpose, value and context (Level 1 & 2)
  • explore a variety of materials and tools and discover elements and selected principles (Level 1 & 2)
  • investigate visual ideas in response to a variety of motivations, observation, and imagination (Level 1)
  • investigate and develop visual ideas in response to a variety of motivations, observation and imagination (Level 2)
  • investigate the purpose of objects and images from past and present cultures and identify the contexts in which they were or are made, viewed and valued (Level 3)
  • explore some art-making conventions, applying knowledge of elements and selected principles through the use of materials and processes (Level 3)


Technological Practice

Planning for practice:

  • outline a general plan to support the development of an outcome, identifying appropriate steps and resources (Level 1)
  • develop a plan that identifies the key stages and the resources required to complete an outcome (Level 2)
  • undertake planning to identify the key stages and resources required to develop an outcome. Revisit planning to include reviews of progress and identify implications for subsequent decision making (Level 3)

Brief development:

  • describe the outcome they are developing and identify the attributes it should have, taking account of the need or opportunity and the resources available (Level 1)
  • explain the outcome they are developing and describe the attributes it should have, taking account of the need or opportunity and the resources available (Level 2)
  • describe the nature of an intended outcome, explaining how it addresses the need or opportunity. Describe the key attributes that enable development and evaluation of an outcome (Level 3)

Outcome development and evaluation:

  • investigate a context to communicate potential outcomes. Evaluate these against attributes; select and develop an outcome in keeping with the identified attributes (Level 1)
  • investigate a context to develop ideas for potential outcomes. Evaluate these against the identified attributes; select and develop an outcome. Evaluate the outcome in terms of the need or opportunity (Level 2)
  • investigate a context to develop ideas for potential outcomes. Trial and evaluate these against key attributes to select and develop an outcome to address the need or opportunity. Evaluate this outcome against the key attributes and how it addresses the need or opportunity (Level 3)

Links to other books in the PPBC


The Woven Flax Kete by Angie Belcher– a boy uses an old flax kete of his grandmother’s to collect “treasures” in.The Kuia and the Spider by Patricia Grace– this book is part of the New Zealand Picture Book Collection, and is about a Kuia and a Spider who compete over whose weaving is the best.

Other ideas

 Older children could focus in on the last page, where “Grandma is weaving a long, long story.” Talk about the oral traditions of the Pacific Islands and the importance of handing stories down through generations, through the art of storytelling. This was especially important before reading and writing was introduced, as it was the only way of sharing stories (English/ Social Sciences)