New Zealand National Costume
There were two major forms of dresses: knee length kilt-like dress that is worn around the waist and tightened by a beautiful belt. On the other hand, a rectangular dress is actually worn on the shoulders. This may be a cape-like outfit or an extended cloak-like garment of improved quality. Men’s belts were in fact known as tatua and women’s belts as tu. The man’s belt was generally the more elaborate. Belts were generally made from flax but other materials were also utilized like pingao and kiekie. Flax belts were regularly plaited in designs with black and white linings. The belts were tied securely with a string tie. Women wore belts made from several strands of interlaced fibre. However, when Maoris migrated from a warmer environment into a rainier and colder location, their ancestors would become very imaginative with the materials in hand. In order to get accustomed to the rougher environment forces the two kinds of dresses progressed. To deal the cold and damp conditions of New Zealand winter, a unique rain cloak or pake emerged. It was produced from tags of unprocessed flax or Cordyline partially scraped and put in narrow rows attached to muka or embedded fibre base.
A form of dress known as pake karure was produced from two-ply closed fibres of hukahuka (rolled, twisted or tagged) interspersed with sporadic black-dyed two-ply type karure (freely twisted) muka yarn cord. Dresses like these were actually worn interchangeably around the waist in the form of piupiu, or over the shoulder as a cloak. Piupiu is considered as a modern adaptation of the kilt. The beautiful waistband is interlaced or in some cases produced from tāniko. The overall body of piupiu is typically produced from flax leaves which are carefully arranged with the flax fibre or muka exposed in some segments to cause geometric designs to emerge. The unstrapped leaves will bend naturally into tubes as leaves dry and produce a striking sound when the wearer moves or sways. The geometric designs can be highlighted through dying process as the dye will infuse more into the uncovered fibres rather than the desiccated unprocessed leaf. Korowai are delicately woven cloaks wrapped with muka tassels (hukahuka). On the other hand, Hukahuka are produced from the miro (twist yarn) procedure of dying the muka and rolling two packages into a solitary chord which is woven into the overall body of the cloak.
There are several different forms of korowai that are named according to the kind of hukahuka used as beautification. Korowai karure tend to have tassels that appear to be unscrambling. Korowai ngore tend to have hukahuka that appear like pompoms. Korowai hihima has un-dyed tassels. Although, these days Maori clothes are typical to the 21st century, there are glimpses of the gorgeous conventional clothing in several formal events. Wearing conventional dresses in official ceremonies actually plays a vital part in their cultural individuality. All public festivities start with a Kapa Haka ritual in conventional Maori dressing as part of the country’s multi-cultural background.
Characteristics of New Zealand National Costume:
- men’s belt known as tatua
- women’s belt known as tu
- rain cloak or pake emerged
- pake karure produced from two-ply closed fibres
- Piupiu considered as a contemporary adaptation of kilt