She learnt the art of weaving by watching her grandmother at the age of nine.
Today, Nanave Taime, a traditional weaver from Penrhyn, is proud to showcase her traditional art to the world, aiming to keep the weaving tradition alive.
At the Vaka Eiva Business Trade Investment Board trade day, Taime participated for the first time, as a solo weaver and designer displaying her intricately woven rito crafts, popular with visitors and residents.
Most of all she sold out her mini rito paddles as souvenirs to a number of tourists, as souvenirs of the Vaka Eiva festival.
Taime said she would watch her grandmother weave the famous Penrhyn hats and this would put a smile on her face. She loved seeing the completion of a traditional hat, ready to be worn, or sent for a family member here in Rarotonga or overseas.
“I love weaving and designing. I don't remember how old grandma was then but I was just nine and it was a custom for us to ensure we gained the traditional weaving knowledge and skills,” she said.
She said it was a custom – and a must – for the girls to learn weaving. But for her, it was the fun of designing, art and most of all just spending time making something new.
“Weaving is part of our tradition back home, every one of us must learn to keep the culture alive.”
Taime came to Rarotonga to pursue her education and later joined Pacific Weave where she attended classes to boost her weaving talent.
She later ventured out on her own and started showcasing her designs at the Punanga Nui market.
She said she was part of the Vaka Eiva trade day last year, where she first designed a paddle made out of rito. It was which is bigger than the souvenir designs she has been selling in the past two days of this year’s trade day.
In Penrhyn, she says, it is mostly about learning these skills but as you get older it is up to you.
Taime designs, crafts and weaves rito earing, hats and other designs that’s comes into mind.
She also works on her customs originals, where she gets orders from overseas.
“The designs naturally come to me,’ she says.
She has two daughters, aged five and nine, and hopes to share her skills with them.
Despite the unpredictable weather the Vaka Eiva trade day has attracted decent crowds to the colourfully set up stalls.
Excited at the experience of being among the hype of activity, Taime loved the flow of business and meeting new people.
There was a variety of food and handmade crafts available that include: chips, chutneys and jams from Atiu, locally made paddles come down and pearls, rito crafts, beach wear, t-shirts, caps, crepes, cabin bread poke, katsu chicken and more.