Skirt / Cape



A skirt (piupiu) or cape (rapaki) made from New Zealand Flax fibre with a fringe of twisted black tassels. There is a thick waistband plait with blue, red, green and yellow wool running threads twined in. The backing section has two longer extra wefts (aho poka) to provide shaping, and two shorter ones on the left edge only (looking at the back). The ties attached to the waistband are twisted wool in blue with a braid extension at one end, blue, green and red at the other. This garment was made by finger-weaving or twining without the use of a loom. The main technique used is double-pair twining, which forms the wefts (aho). This began at the bottom edge of the back section, and finished with a plait at the top edge, forming the waistband. There are four or five warp threads (whenu) per cm, with wefts 12-14mm apart. The two-ply black-dyed rolled tassels become warp threads, inserted at alternate wefts. There are two lines of double-pair twining close together at the fourth weft from the top (where the colour of the weft changes from black to brown). The four top wefts are brown and carry the coloured wool running threads. This is generally fragile due to the dyeing process. The coloured wool running threads are breaking in places. This garment may have been used originally as a piupiu (skirt), fastened by plaited ties, then worn as a cape (fastened by twisted cords).