Teaching And Our 'Terms of Use'

Sep 6 / Lillian Hetet Owen
We were recently informed by a known Māori weaver who has also been teaching Māori weaving and her colleague (both of whom joined our Taaniko and Whatu Kākahu courses some years ago) that they have been and will be teaching these techniques despite having agreed to our terms at sign-up.

One claims that they "misinterpreted" what we meant by 'teaching' and that they "understood teaching, in this sense, to mean for profit or as part of a formal course."

Furthermore, they claimed that what has been learned with Veranoa cannot be differentiated between what they have or may learn with other Kākahu weavers.

The other person involved also believes they have the right to teach all other content except for "things like the 'B knot' and other tips and tricks Veranoa teaches".

When I asked that person what lessons and in what order they would teach them (as The Matrix was formulated) and whose words they will use to teach their students (knowing that Veranoa's voice and words will be firmly planted in their heads) there was no reply.

This is not only disappointing but very disheartening.

 As our mother, Erenora, wrote in her book 'Māori Weaving':

"Māori weaving is more than a product of manual skills. From the simple rourou food basket to the prestigious kahu kiwi, weaving is endowed with the very essence of the spiritual values of Māori people." 

The 'tikanga' of Te Whare Pora is not just about things like how and when to gather and prepare harakeke.

As we have stressed in many places throughout the Hetet School and our courses: the relationship between one's kaiako and oneself as a recipient of their knowledge is a precious one where respect is essential.

(Click here to read our article about the Tikanga of Honouring Your Teacher)

Regarding 'Intellectual Property': the Māori tradition is an oral one that includes karakia, whaikōrero, whakapapa, oriori, waiata, whakatauki, and the imparting of mātauranga though wānanga - all of which, we believe, constitutes what is termed today as 'intellectual property' but what we refer to as the tino rangatiratanga of our mātauranga.

Just as in academia using written words from someone else and claiming them to be your own is plagiarism, we also believe that the words Veranoa uses and those our mother used to impart their knowledge as part of The Matrix® (the lessons and lesson sequence) is part of our intellectual property. 

As the term 'kai-ako' suggests: Veranoa has literally fed you the words that you remember to weave with. Therefore, out of respect, we believe it is a simple courtesy to seek her permission to give those words to someone else.

When teaching your own tamariki and mokopuna (if you have them) we have indeed given our written permission to  to use the words and content of our courses. By that we mean you personally teaching your own tamariki and mokopuna NOT you sharing your online lessons with them.

However, we do NOT give you permission to use Veranoa's words, our videos or other content we have created to teach other people - whether paid or unpaid. We consider that plagiarism and stealing.

In the same way, we ourselves would also show respect to any kaiako Māori imparting precious mātauranga that they have nurtured and protected over generations or created anew. This could be a waiata that person or their tupuna composed, or an innovation or way of doing something that they have devised (such as a new pattern or technique). It is always important to acknowledge the source.

This has nothing to do with monetary exchange but everything to do with courtesy and respect.

We have therefore been advised to update our Terms of Use to include the following:

"The sharing or teaching of such material in part or whole (either paid or free) without our express written consent will constitute a breach of our terms that will result in immediate suspension of your account and subsequent termination of your membership and legal action."

We have also updated our Privacy policy to include the collection of data relating to whether or not you are of Māori or non-Māori ancestry.

If you have a question about the Terms of Use or Privacy Policy update or if you disagree with these terms and do not wish to continue learning with us please email us at [email protected] so we can organise the termination of your membership.

Otherwise, we will assume that you agree with our updated terms and privacy policy.

Kia ora,
on behalf of the whānau of the Hetet School