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Object: Kie Tau (fine mat)

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Title Kie Tau (fine mat)
Production Ko Fatu Paepae o Lower Hutt, circa 1991, Petone
Materials plant fibre, Pandanus leaf, synthetic fibre, packing material
Classification ceremonial objects, mats
Credit line Purchased 1993 with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board funds
Registration number FE010246

Kie tau are a special type of fine mat that have an important ceremonial role in Tokelau society where they are worn and presented at weddings and used in burials. This kie tau was made around 1991 by the Tokelau women of Ko Fatu Paepae o Lower Hutt - a Tokelau weaving group based in Lower Hutt, New Zealand.

Manufacture and design
The main body of this mat is made from heavily processed lau kie (pandanus leaf), with a border pattern and decorative motifs in lau hulu (brown pandanus). Both varieties of pandanus were imported to New Zealand from Tokelau. An interesting feature of this kie tau is the thick outer fringe made from synthetic material. It is very similar in appearance to the kanava bark fibre found in Tokelau, but it was actually obtained from packing case material from a car assembly plant in New Zealand.

Although the materials have changed from the customary ones, the effort invested in processing the material, weaving it together, and using it in a culturally significant way still contributes to the mat's value. It was first displayed in the exhibition Traditional Arts of Pacific Island women (199) held at the then Museum of New Zealand. Members of Ko Fatu Paepae o Lower Hutt who worked on the mat were Telesia Lino, Katalina Paselio, Maselina Pereira, Fetu Perez, Malia Sesale, Vito Koloi, Susana Koloi, Matalena Atonio, Valelia Lafaele, and Kolopa Isle.

Related information

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