Forensic Fashion
(c) 2006-present R. Macaraeg


>Costume Studies
>>1807 Maori ariki

Subjectariki / rangatira warrior chief
Culture: Maori
Setting: Musket Wars, Aotearoa / North Island 1807-1830
Object: costume 


* Stafford 1996 p72 = Stafford 1997 p55
"In common with Polynesian custom men wore their hair long, arranging it on the head as a top-knot.  On occasions, feathers were stuck there, those of the huia, albatross and heron being most favoured.  Combs of beautiful design in both wood and bone were also prized adornments."

* Barrow 1984 p84
"Men of high social standing let their hair grow long.  It needed careful tending before being coiled up as a topknot (tikitiki). ....
    "Combs varied in material and form.  Some were made of one piece of wood or whalebone with a small manaia head carved on the upper corner.  Another type was made by lashing together wooden teeth with fine flax string.  Combs were generally small in size, but some made of whale bone were as long as 25 or more centimetres.
    "Particular combs became family heirlooms of such mana that they became highly tapu.  Open fighting did occur over rival claims to ownership of particular combs."


* Fashion, costume, and culture 2 2004 p338
"When ancestors of the Maori arrived in New Zealand from the Philippines [SIC], they began to develop weaving techniques to make warmer clothes.  THey used plant fibers, especially flax, to create cloaks to which they attached feathers, tufts of grass, bundles of plant material, or dog hair for extra warmth and protection against the rain."

* Arts of the South Seas 1946 p50
"Since the paper-mulberry could not be grown in New Zealand, the bark-cloth garments of other parts of Polynesia were replaced by heavy cloaks made from New Zealand flax.  Skeins of this soft, strong fiber were placed side by side and fastened together with pairs of slender cords which were given a half turn between each pair of skeins.  This technique, which is known as twined weaving, was widely used in Polynesia in the making of fish traps but only here was it applied to fabrics.  Cloaks were shaped so that they would hang smoothly on the wearers' shoulders and the better ones were often covered on the outside with feathers or provided with closely woven borders decorated with simple angular geometric designs."

​* Barrow 1984 p87
"Superior cloaks were ornamented with feathers or tags, which were worked into the textile as it was being made."


* Starzecka ed. 1996 p124-125 (Mick Pendergrast, "The fiber arts" p114-146)
"TATUA (MEN'S BELTS)  Plaited and woven belts known as tatua (and often regarded as war belts) were worn by men.  In some areas, Cook notes, this belt was part of minimal dress, 'to which was generally fasten'd a small string which they tye around the Prepuce.  In this manner I have seen hundreds of them come off to and on board Ship but they generally had their proper cloathing in the boat along with them to put on if it rain'd etc'.  At other times a belt was worn around the waist to hold clothing in place.  Both plaited and woven types of belt are worked in a rectangle, which is folded in longitudinally from top and bottom and then folded in half, making a band with an opening along the upper edge.  Small objects could be carried inside.  The free ends of the working strips are not cut off but are hidden inside the fold, making the band thicker.  A braided cord was attached to each end as a tie for securing it around the waist." [citation omitted]

* Barrow 1984 p81-83
"When warriors went into battle, they were usually naked apart from plaited flax war belts about the waist, which were designed to hold short clubs. A cord was attached to these belts which held the penis up. It was tied to the foreskin which had been drawn over the glans -- the minimum requirement of male modesty."

* McGuire 1968 p67
"A warrior went into battle virtually naked, but to hold his war club he might wear a belt made of plaited flax."


* Best 1952 p209
"The Maori wore but two garments, and these were of the same fashion for both sexes.  One was a kilt-like garment worn round the waist, and secured by a belt; it descended to about the knees."

* Sumberg 2010 p219
"The piu piu was a ceremonial garment developed from the kilt that was worn every day by men and women.  When European garments were introduced, they were rapidly adopted, and the Maori styles of cape and kilt were worn only on special occasions.  The piu piu is made from the stalks of New Zealand flax that have been selectively scraped and dyed to make a pattern.  The stalks are attached to a plaited waistband.  The sound the stalks make as the dancer moved was an important aspect of the garment.  Piu piu are still made and used in New Zealand."