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Maori Costume Maori Costume

Posted on by Lesley Armstrong

Maori Costume

Korowai/Cloak (Kakahu)

Originally the Maori cloak was made from Dog skin and fur, mixed with woven Muka (flax fibre). They were known as Kahu Kuri and were often worn with the hair side on the outside to display the extravagant style of the Chiefs status. Kahu Kuri were primarly war cloaks worn only by Chiefs.

It wasn’t until the second half of the 19th century that the feather cloak became the more prestigious cloak to wear and as more introduced birds arrived to New Zealand the more multi-coloured and patterned the feathered cloaks became.

Piupiu

The arrival of Piupiu came late in Maori history, as the Maro was more popularly worn, which resembles a loin cloth. Made from Harakeke (flax) the wearing of Maro goes right back to the first Polynesians to come to New Zealand. A short cape or Rapaki  also made from harakeke and muka, was generally worn around the waist in colder conditions.

From the rapaki came the Piupiu, made from dried, rolled,  and dyed Harakeke (flax) which were and still are, worn for dance performances. Because of the stiffness of the dried flax, they make a clink and rattle sound as the wearer sways during the performance.

Pari

Fairly late in Maori History, the Pari or Womens Bodice was used in Maori performance, and really came about with the arrival of Pakeha to New Zealand, when Maori were encouraged to cover up breasts.

The pari is designed with a square,triangular, or Koru shaped Taniko, which can signify Whanau, Hapu and Iwi, and now are often seen during major Kapa Haka festivals.

Historicaly women would wear just a Maro around the waist, similar to the mens, which then evolved into a longer lighter underskirt called a Panekoti – or petticoat.

Tatua

Historicaly the Tatua belt was made of Harakeke (flax) and was worn by men, to hold their weapons at the waist.

Nowadays the wide Tatua is worn by men over the piupiu like a belt, but is now made of fabric and incorporates the Taniko like the Womens Pari.

Maori Costume

Korowai/Cloak (Kakahu)

Originally the Maori cloak was made from Dog skin and fur, mixed with woven Muka (flax fibre). They were known as Kahu Kuri and were often worn with the hair side on the outside to display the extravagant style of the Chiefs status. Kahu Kuri were primarly war cloaks worn only by Chiefs.

It wasn’t until the second half of the 19th century that the feather cloak became the more prestigious cloak to wear and as more introduced birds arrived to New Zealand the more multi-coloured and patterned the feathered cloaks became.

Piupiu

The arrival of Piupiu came late in Maori history, as the Maro was more popularly worn, which resembles a loin cloth. Made from Harakeke (flax) the wearing of Maro goes right back to the first Polynesians to come to New Zealand. A short cape or Rapaki  also made from harakeke and muka, was generally worn around the waist in colder conditions.

From the rapaki came the Piupiu, made from dried, rolled,  and dyed Harakeke (flax) which were and still are, worn for dance performances. Because of the stiffness of the dried flax, they make a clink and rattle sound as the wearer sways during the performance.

Pari

Fairly late in Maori History, the Pari or Womens Bodice was used in Maori performance, and really came about with the arrival of Pakeha to New Zealand, when Maori were encouraged to cover up breasts.

The pari is designed with a square,triangular, or Koru shaped Taniko, which can signify Whanau, Hapu and Iwi, and now are often seen during major Kapa Haka festivals.

Historicaly women would wear just a Maro around the waist, similar to the mens, which then evolved into a longer lighter underskirt called a Panekoti – or petticoat.

Tatua

Historicaly the Tatua belt was made of Harakeke (flax) and was worn by men, to hold their weapons at the waist.

Nowadays the wide Tatua is worn by men over the piupiu like a belt, but is now made of fabric and incorporates the Taniko like the Womens Pari.

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