about RIWA


Harakeke Artist & Kaiako

Maria "RIWA" Wawatai is a New Zealand artist, from painting to weaving, and loads in between, her forte being Toi Maori Raranga (Maori Art of Weaving).

I have been weaving wahakura since 2013, when I attended a wānanga at Te Kokiri in Levin, whilst studying my Diploma in Toi Maori Raranga.

After graduating Maunga Kura Toi Raranga at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, Riwa started teaching "Raranga for Pēpe" courses and Wahakura Rīwā (her version of wahakura) Weekend Wānanga. From these wānanga, she started to build her TEAM of kairaranga supplying Wahakura Rīwā to the Hawkes Bay DHB from 2017.


art by RIWA's Production Team currently supply to several DHB around te motu, and are always looking to increase their team.

I love making wahakura and what it gives to our pēpe and their whanau. Even more-so since I became a Nanny in 2019.

2015 Winner
of the AST Dr Diggeress
Te Kanawa Memorial Award

2019 Finalist

Emerging Business

MWDI Maori Business Women Awards

2016 Graduated
TWoA Maunga Kura Toi

art by RIWA Ltd

was a finalist at the 2019 MWDI Māori Business Women Awards

One of 3 finalists for the Emerging Business Award, art by RIWA Ltd was so proud to get this far. This category had the most applicants of all the categories.

"I would highly recommend applying for awards like these. It made me look at my business from different angles, and what I really need to focus on over the next 12 months", said Riwa, owner of art by RIWA Ltd.

"It was also great meeting the other finalists, learning about their businesses, and where they're heading too".


meet our TEAM


 Kia ora (Hello)


It is with great pleasure to have woven your Wahakura Rīwā, and help support your pēpe (baby) in safe sleeping.


I am proud to be part of the team to create your wahakura.  I love weaving Wahakura Rīwā and am passionate about supporting your baby to sleep safely with you.  I hope you get a lot of enjoyment from your Wahakura Rīwā, and it has a long life with you and your whānau!


Kia ora. I have been weaving for some years and have a great passion for it. When I heard about the weaving class for wahakura with Riwa, I hopped on board to learn at her wānanga, and enjoyed everything about the Wahakura Rīwā.


It took a while to get the technical aspect of it, but am now enjoying weaving with the other girls who are in this roopū.


Kia ora!  In 2019 I graduated with a Level 5 Diploma in Raranga at Te Wananga O Aotearoa in Hastings under the tutelage of Karmen Thomson. I also attended one of Riwa Wawatai’s wānanga Wahakura Rīwā and had the honour of being invited to be part of her team.


As a relatively new weaver it is a privilege for me to be creating wahakura for newborn tamariki. We often wonder what kind of baby will be sleeping in the Wahakura Rīwā we’re currently working on. I hope you and your pēpe enjoy using the Wahakura Rīwā as much as I enjoyed making it, and sleep safe and secure.


Info Coming soon...


Kia ora. I've been weaving for some years now and am so glad to be a part of this roopū, creating Wahakura Rīwā for you and your pēpe to enjoy.


May these precious times of safe, nurturing sleep enrich you, your pēpe & your whānau.


Kia ora koutou katoa. I wanted to learn how to make a wahakura and my cousin Annie was already involved with Riwa and put me in contact with the On-line Covid-19 Wahakura Wānanga.  I was hooked.  I then asked Riwa if I could join her Wahakura Team and was honoured to be accepted.


I love making Wahakura Rīwā.  Each one has their own unique whakapapa as to where the flax was harvested, who harvested the flax and also the whakapapa of the kairaranga.


I hope your whānau enjoy and love using the wahakura just as I have had the privilege of creating it for you. The pleasure is mine.




Tēnā koutou, I am the eldest daughter of one of the other weavers Annie Tauiwi. I'm a full-time solo mother to my beautiful boy, Te Aumangea. My main employment, as the Kaiwhakahaere Hāpai Kaupapa (Special Projects Manager) at Te Wānanga o Raukawa, keeps me extremely busy but in my downtime (when I find it) is spent weaving Wahakura Rīwā. I have not been weaving Wahakura Rīwā for long (September 2020) but have picked up the skill and artform with ease and I often find it therapeutic. 


Our babies are taonga (gift) and it has been a privilege to be able to weave Wahakura Rīwā to support safe sleeping, but to also think that as parents we too can get the rest we need knowing our babies are safe. 


Ngā manaakitanga, kia au te moe pēpe. 


I'm a mother of six from Wairoa HB living in the Manawatu.


Working in the NZDF and studying Raranga with TWOA, it is an honour to join a team of weavers who have the same passion as I do.


It is a privilege to share the gift of weaving with you while doing something I love. I look forward to the future of raranga and the use of more natural resources such as harakeke for our children and their children and beyond. 



join our TEAM

Would you like to join our TEAM?

As the need for wahakura grows, so does our team. We are always on the lookout for kairaranga to join us, and help us meet demand from DHB and Hauora roopū around Aotearoa.

If this sounds like something you would like to become a part of, please register your interest below:

Come join our TEAM

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