Piupiu are traditionally made from flax, although native grasses can also be used. (Our ones are made from flax). A sharp shell is used to cut and strip the flax leaf, to soften it and expose the fibre (muka), and to carve out the areas which will be blackened. When the flax is immersed for a day in a pool of stagnant mud ( paru, which contains iron oxide), the carved out sections turn black. The flax is washed and left to dry in the sun. As the flax dries, it curls into a cylinder. The leaves are fastened to a plaited top, either before or after drying. The only exception to the traditional way these piupiu are made now, is that dyes are used instead of mud, to make the piupiu last longer. Paru is acidic, causing the fibre to break down over time.
Piupiu are worn as part of the Maori dance costume, nowadays usually worn over a black skirt ( women) or black shorts (men). The skirt wraps around and the ends of the plaited section are tied.
The piupiu are made-to-order, which takes 2-4 weeks. Length usually around 20" (51cm) for adult females, and 16" (41cm) for males. Purchase the waist size you want.
Wear your piupiu with pride, or hang it on the wall as a marvellous piece of Maori art.
Note re shipping: Please choose Economy Courier or Express Courier as your overseas shipping option, as the piupiu are too valuable to go by Airmail, which is not tracked or insured.
Shipping Times during Covid-19
Currently (January 2021), Airmail to Australia and the USA is taking about 5 weeks, and Airmail to the UK and Europe is taking 6-7 weeks. Airmail to South America is at least 8 weeks, and allow up to 12 weeks.
Economy Courier and Express Courier are up to 10 working days worldwide.
As always, we do not guarantee Airmail or Courier shipping times, as they are beyond our control.
Courier shipping times within New Zealand are approximately one working day to the North Island, 2 working days to the South Island (with an overnight option available at a different price), and up to 3 days to rural areas.
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