New Zealand Traditional Clothes

Cultures rarely consider clothes despite their evident significance. Cultural diversity in New Zealand has resulted in a traditional dress style all its own. New Zealander’s appreciation of bright colors and striking patterns unites the country’s diverse fashion scene.

There is no unified national costume in New Zealand; rather, each of the country’s many ethnic groups has its own set of folk costumes and styles of attire. Traditional Maori garb, however, is extremely fashionable in New Zealand. The natural botanicals, animal skins, bird feathers, and other materials are used to create one-of-a-kind clothing, accessories, and jewelry that perfectly represent the culture of this island nation.

New Zealand Traditional Clothes

In this article, we will go over the traditional clothes of New Zealand.

New Zealand Traditional Clothes

It is obvious that there are a variety of national dress codes in use. Here’s an overview of some of the most common types of apparel you might see:

1. Hieke

A rain cloak, or pk or hieke, was worn during the chilly and wet New Zealand winter. The muka or plaited fiber base was joined to tags of raw flax or Cordyline that had been partially scraped and put in tight rows.

The Ng cloak-weaving festival was held in 2000. Dawn Schuster-Smith produced a work that is currently housed in the collection of Te Papa Tongarewa, the national museum of New Zealand. The garment’s six layers of undyed hollow lengths of harakeke require a highly sturdy foundation, which was achieved by the weaving technique used to construct it.

Two-ply closed strands of Hukahuka were woven into garments of the pk Krure style, with occasional two-ply open-type Krure muka thread cord painted black. These kinds of garments could be wrapped around the waist as a piupiu or draped over the shoulders like a cape. It is believed that these garments predate European contact; they evolved into their current specialized form in the middle to the late nineteenth century, and the piupiu represents this style even now.

2. Luxurious robes/kākahu

In addition to the Kahu Huruhuru and Kahu Kur, there were also Korowai and other forms of beautiful cloaks. Kakahu are a prized taonga of New Zealand thanks to the beautiful weavings they include. Creating a Kakau of sufficient quality and prestige might take years. They were highly valued and were occasionally bartered for more substantial goods and services.

Finger-weaving weft twining is used to make Kkahu; the two most common techniques are called aho ptahi uting and aho rua, respectively, and both include the use of two and four threads, respectively. Although Aho ptahi was once used to make fishing traps, the technology has now been adapted for use in the production of Kkahu and other forms of soft clothing. Traditionally, rolled muka cords, feathers, or dog skin is used to tie Hukahuka to the body of the cloak, a process known as Aho Rua.

3. Piupiu

Attired in a piupiu at a legislative event in New Zealand. In 2016, Dame Patsy Reddy was sworn in as Governor-General.

Piupiu is a type of skirt used by modern Maori women and is a standard component of the kapa haka costume. After meeting Europeans, Piupiu rose to fame. Before piupiu, there were ‘garments of free-hanging strands’ known as rpaki and pk krure. The piupiu is often woven from harakeke leaves, which are rolled and shaped to form a cylindrical thread, with the muka left exposed in strategic places to form geometric patterns.

A tniko design is frequently used to adorn the waistline. When the wearer sways or moves, the harakeke’s un-scraped cylindrical strands create a percussive sound. By penetrating the exposed fibers rather than the dried raw leaf, the dye highlights the geometric patterns.

4. Korowai

Korowai are muka-tasseled cloaks made of intricate weaving. The muka is dyed using the miro method, and then two bundles are rolled into a single string to be weaved into the Hukahuka’s main body. Named for the Hukahuka used to adorn them, Korowai come in a wide variety of styles. Korowai kārure have tassels that appear to be unraveling. The hukahuka of a korowai ngore are shaped like pompoms. Tasseled Korowai Hihima were colorless.

The Korowai, who traditionally wear a black Hukahuka, have recently become the most fashionable group in the islands. When properly crafted, the Hukahuka on a Korowai might be up to 30 centimeters in length and would sway in the wind with the wearer’s every step. As a result of the dyeing procedure hastening the muka’s degradation, many elderly Korowai no longer wear their traditional black Hukahuka.

5. Kaitaka

Wrap yourself in one of this muka fiber kaitaka. The kaitiaki is a highly esteemed component of Maori culture. They are crafted from muka, which is spun from Phormium tenax plants of the highest grade to produce a fiber with a silky feel and a warm golden sheen. The remu and kauko of a kaitaka are typically decorated with tniko, the former in a wide border and the latter in narrower bands.

The ua and kaupapa are often simple and undressed. Parawai kaitaka have horizontally running aho, whereas kaitaka paepaeroa have vertically running aho, kaitaka aronui or ptea have horizontally running aho with tniko bands on the sides and bottom borders, huaki have horizontally running aho with tniko bands on the sides and two broad tniko bands, one above the other, on the lower border

6. Hula Hooping

Kahu huruhuru, or fine feather cloaks, were fashioned from muka fiber and covered entirely in bird feathers. Between 1850 and 1900, while cloaks were undergoing a period of significant change, the prevalence of feather cloaks increased.

Among the first was the kahu kiwi, which adorned itself with the kiwi’s own soft brown feathers. When it came to kahu huruhuru, kahu kiwi was held in the highest esteem. The kerer’s green and white feathers and the tui’s blue feathers were used in other Kahu huruhuru.

7. Kahu kurī

The Kahu Kur was a renowned pre-European cloak produced from the hide of the Kur dog, which is now extinct. They were treasured family heirlooms. The pelts of Kur are believed to have belonged to chiefs. There were times when Kahu Kur’s were exchanged, bestowing their mana upon both parties. Some of these exquisite robes can be found in the collections of museums like New Zealand’s Te Papa Tongarewa.

Production of Kahu Kur is assumed to have ended somewhere in the early nineteenth century, while it was most common between the years 1500 and 1850. These garments can be crafted in one of three ways: by weaving strips of hide, by stitching together full dog skins, or by creating a Kahu waero out of tufted dog tails. Kahu kur come in a variety of forms, known variously as tpuni, ihupuni, awarua, kahuwaero, mhiti, and pahi.

Final Word

Even in modern New Zealand, some people still prefer to dress in the more traditional styles, particularly during cultural festivities. Despite the unmistakable impact of the modern world, inhabitants of the New Zealand Islands are working hard to preserve and share their distinctive way of life.

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