15 women weavers from the island of Ha’apai in Tonga will be introduced to the traditional weaving technique called “mosikaka” at a handicraft training which will be held from August 24-28.
The training is a collaboration between the European Union supported Pacific Regional Tourism Building Program (PRTCBP) implemented by the South Pacific Tourism Organization (SPTO), the Tonga Business Enterprise Centre (TBEC) and the Tonga Handicrafts and Cultural Tourism Support Program (THCTSP).
Mosikaka is a unique traditional Tongan weaving technique said to have been used to make baskets for the royal family. This weaving technique is only found in the Kingdom of Tonga.
The people of Ha’apai are still recovering from the effects of Cyclone Ian which hit the island in 2014 and the training is aimed at empowering the women of Ha’apai to learn a new skill in the hope of increasing their business opportunities as they rely on selling their mats for income.
SPTO Chief Executive Ilisoni Vuidreketi stated the training is aimed at addressing cross-cutting issues such as the development of grassroots women in Tonga, particularly in income generating projects from Small and Micro-Enterprise (SME) businesses to cyclone rehabilitation.
“Tongan crafters and artisans are renowned in the Pacific and we are confident that this training will give them the added boost to be able to market their goods to the tourism sector in Tonga”, he added.
“The fact that this weaving technique is found only in the Kingdom of Tonga makes it very special and is another unique selling point for Tonga as a tourist destination.”
“We are certainly pleased to be able to assist the women and the island of Ha’apai in the cyclone recovery and we wish them all the best in their up-coming training”, he continued.