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  • Dr Rangi Te Kanawa is a textile conservator at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. She uses her knowledge of traditional dyeing practices, science and scientific experimentation to preserve fibres in textiles that have been dyed using iron-tannate black dyes.

    This first-person narrative uses a family piupiu as the context to explore:

    • traditional harakeke weaving and dyeing practices
    • how scientists collaborate to find solutions
    • the scientific process used to test their solution, including controlling for variables
    • the need for evidence in science.
    Rights: Crown 2014

    Connected article: Black is back

    An article in the 2014 level 4 Connected journal, ‘What’s the evidence?’ published by the Ministry of Education, New Zealand.

    Photograph of Rangi Te Kanawa by Adrian Heke.

    Check your school resource area for the article from the 2014 level 4 Connected journal, ‘What’s the evidence?’, download it as a Google slide presentation from Tāhūrangi or order it from the Ministry of Education.

    Teacher support material and reusable content

    The teacher support material (TSM) can be downloaded from Tāhūrangi (Word and PDF files available). The material outlines key nature of science ideas and key science ideas profiled in the article. It also explores how the article supports students to develop the science capability ‘Use evidence’. It includes four learning activities designed to deepen the technological and scientific concepts presented in the article.

    Rights: Crown 2014

    2014 Connected level 4: What’s the evidence?

    The cover of the 2014 level 4 Connected journal ‘What’s the evidence?’ published by the Ministry of Education, New Zealand. This issue includes the articles ‘Beating the wind’, ‘The great marble challenge’, ‘Training for success’, ‘Learning from the Christchurch earthquakes’ and ‘Black is back’.

    Photo of earthquake damage, TheXDMarilyn, CC BY 2.0

    The reusable content has text and images from the article.

    Related content

    The article Preserving harakeke taonga covers Rangi Te Kanawa’s conservation work at Te Papa and includes a video in which she talks about the work being done to preserve precious dyed harakeke garments.

    Harakeke under the microscope looks at a cross-cultural approach taken to learn more about the harakeke collection at the Dunedin Botanic Garden.

    The article Vegetable caterpillar takes a closer look at an unusual creature and the role it played as an ingredient of the ink used to create tā moko (tattoo).

    Check out our entire range of Connected articles here. We’ve curated them by topic and concepts.

    Useful links

    Learn more about Rangi Te Kanawa and her fellow kākahu researchers: Hokimate Harwood and Dr Patricia Wallace on the Te Papa website. Watch this Te Papa video on YouTube of Rangi talking about her work and how her upbringing influenced her work in conserving the Māori cloaks in Te Papa's collection.

    Listen to this Radio NZ programme Dr Rangi Te Kanawa: working to conserve our taonga kakahu from May 2022.

    The Connected journals can be ordered from the Down the Back of the Chair website. Access to these resources is restricted to Ministry-approved education providers. To find out if you are eligible for a login or if you have forgotten your login details, contact their customer services team on 0800 660 662 or email


    The Connected series is published annually by the Ministry of Education, New Zealand.

      Published 12 September 2019 Referencing Hub articles
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