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Belts - Māori terms for

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Best quotes the tradition of Taukata having brought the kao, or cooked and dried kūmara, to New Zealand in such a belt. The Aotea tradition states that Rongorongo, the wife of Turi, brought the seed of the kūmara in her belt from Hawaiki. From this historical incident arises the saying applied to the kūmara in the Taranaki district, Te Tātua o Rongorongo.

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Tātua is the generic name for belts.

Tātua whara = mens belts. "These are plaited into a flat band, with white and dyed wefts of about 1/8th in. in width. They usually have coloured designs worked in them. On the east coast of the North Island they are also called tātua pūpara, whilst on the west coast they are called tātua kōtara" Plaiting techniques described. (Te Rangi Hiroa 1924)

White, black and yellow colours used. Pīngao used for yellow.

Width of belt may be more than 2 1/2 in. - protect the abdomen on the battlefield. used as name for warrior"s belt. (ibid: 346-348).

Kōwhiti (East Coast name) or māwhiti (West Coast) was a favourite design. Described (ibid)

Womens belts. Consist of plaited strands as against the single wide band of men"s belts. Plaited like cords. Kāretu, Hierochloe redolens, used for sweet smell. Maurea, Carex lucida, and C. comans for reddish-yellow colour of leaves when dry. Muka used too. (Te Rangi Hiroa 1924:348-350)

Belts (tū), girdles, anklets for women made of the culms of the hangaroa. Pieces of flax fibre drawn through hollow stems for strengthening (Best 1898, 1907).

Williams 1971 says that hangaroa are some kind of seashells strung together and worn as an ornament around the neck, waist or ankle; also a term applied to ornamental belts or anklets of other material.

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28 May 2007
21 July 2020
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