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Object: Tivaevae tataura (applique and embroidered quilt)

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Title Tivaevae tataura (applique and embroidered quilt)
Production Quarter, Mi'i, 1996-1997, Auckland
Materials cotton
Classification embroidery
Dimensions Overall: 2160mm (Width) x 2740mm (Length)
Credit line Purchased 1999
Registration number FE011186

Tïvaevae - Treasured quilts

Tïvaevae are treasured quilts made by women in the Cook Islands. Tïvaevae are made from brightly coloured fabrics, and designs can include geometric shapes, flower and animal designs - though animal or bird shapes are considered unlucky on a bedspread. While tïvaevae serve a practical purpose, they are used as decorations and, more importantly, presented as gifts at important occasions such as weddings, funerals, pakoti'anga rauru (boy's haircutting ceremonies), receptions for church ministers and, among New Zealand Cook Islanders, 21st birthday parties, gifts to VIPs and dearly loved people in the family and the community.

Missionary Influence
Tïvaevae are believed to have been introduced to the Cook Islands by the wives of early European missionaries, who taught quilting and needlework. It is thought that patchwork quilts came first, and appliqué and embroidered quilts later. It did not take long for this imported art form to take on a uniquely Cook Island appearance, with bright, vibrant tivaevae motifs such as flowers and plants reflecting the natural environment of the Cook Islands.

Making Tïvaevae
When making tïvaevae, while some women work alone, many work together to sew their quilts in women's groups called va'ine tini, which meet to share ideas and sing as they work. They are similar to the Tongan koka'anga and other women's work parties found throughout the Pacific Islands. There are four main kinds of tïvaevae. Tivaevae ta'orei (patchwork), have a large number of small patches sewn together to form a pattern. Tïvaevae manu (appliqué) and Tïvaevae tataura (embroidered appliqué), have designs sewn to a backing cloth. Tïvaevae tuiauri are sewn on the sewing machine.

This tivaevae tataura featuring the TV2 logo of Television New Zealand, was made in 1996-1997 by Mi'i Quarter. It was commissioned by TV2 and appeared in an advertising campaign for TV2 (I only wanna be with 2). At the time, the inclusion of the tivaevae in this televison promotion sent a strong message about the place of Cook Island culture in contemporary New Zealand society.

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Disclaimer: This information was created from historic documentation, and may not necessarily reflect the best available knowledge about the item. Some collection images are created for identification purposes only and may not be of reproduction quality. Some images are not available due to copyright restrictions. If you have information or questions about objects in the collection, contact us using our enquiry form. You can also find out more about Collections Online.