Lalaga Makers weaving cultural bonds with NPDC Creative Communities funding

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Taranaki’s Samoan residents are weaving new bonds to their heritage and the wider community thanks to NPDC’s Creative Communities arts funding.

The Lalaga Makers pass on their language, culture and stories to younger people while teaching the art of making ie toga – a finely woven mat highly valued in Samoan culture.

The Creative Communities fund provided $3,000 for the monthly workshops which have a strong focus on young people and women.

“The talanoa (conversation), the sharing of knowledge and skill, and telling of stories to connect us is powerful as is the intergenerational involvement,” said organiser Theresa Tongi.

“Many of our participants are not fluent in Samoan, so they offer a safe space for the 'unspoken' practical experience as well as an opportunity to learn the language.”

“The workshops also support the well-being and the mental health of the community’s women as they are a regular time to meet and connect and offer a safe space to support each other.  We are open to anyone who has an interest in lalaga.”

NPDC Community Partnerships Lead Callum Williamson said: “Creative Communities grants help with projects that engage our people and grass-roots group in local arts activities that help make our district a Sustainable Lifestyle Capital.”

If you have a project or activity that could benefit from Creative Communities funding, applications are open until 14 May.

Find out more at



  • The Creative Communities Scheme is a partnership between the government’s Creative New Zealand arts agency and councils to promote community involvement, diversity and young people participating in the arts.
  • Each year the NPDC Creative Communities Scheme distributes around $50,000 on behalf of Creative New Zealand to local artists and arts groups.
  • Artists and arts groups can apply for up to $2,500 each round, but larger amounts can be granted for major projects.
  • Last year the scheme helped 40 artists and arts groups.

  Lalaga maker Malavai Misikei-Levao working on ie toga. Photo credit: Hayley Bethell