kanu: To plant, bury; planting, burial. Fig., hereditary. Mea kanu, crops, plants. Kanu papahu wili, to set solidly into the ground by twisting in and then tamping with a post; lit., plant stick twist. He moʻopuna na kō lākou haku kanu, he was a grandson of their hereditary lord.
hoʻokanu. To cause to plant or bury, (Proto-Polynesian tanu).
Closely related to Tonga, the term for bark cloth in the island of Uvea is ngatu. Paper mulberry, Broussonetia papyrifera, or hiapo, is cultivated on the east coast where rainfall is heavy. Double layers of ngatu are beaten out and pasted together and are designed using freehand designs or kupesi-imprinted methods. If the kupesi pattern block is used, it is made form the midrib of leaf sewn to wads of leaf as in Tonga, and this is the traditional style for Uvea to make designs on the cloth.
Contemporary kupesi are carved in wood. Freehand painting is also done. The design motifs have changed over time from simple, repetitious patterns to modern designs that show a slice of life such as drinking kava, dancing, climbing trees, and fishing. Uses of ngatu include bed covers and screens, and clothing. There are two types of wrap-around skirts that are distinct in Uvea. One called a lafi that is decorated using the kupesi and then over-painted with black dye. The second is called a tohihina, which is decorated completely with freehand design using a pen in black dye on white ngatu cloth.
Tapa is the name used for bark cloth in the Cook Islands. In the northern Cook Islands the paper mulberry did not grow well. But it did grow in the southern Cook Islands and was made into tapa there. As in other Polynesian islands, the breadfruit tree bark and banyan bark were also used to make tapa. In the southern Cooks tapa was felted into a single layer, with no sign of joining.
Decorating the finished tapa was done with freehand painting, immersion in dye baths, or it was cut with designs in a patterned motif. The rubbing method using design tablets was not used in the Cook Islands. Diamond motifs, which were “associated with the sacred world of the gods,” were applied on masks using the freehand painting method. Masks were made and decorated in Mangaia and Rarotonga and they were used in pageants called eva, to remember gods and cultural heroes. These ceremonies also were performed in association with mourning.
Tiputa was worn as clothing in the Cook Islands, in the Tahitian style that is believed to have been the result of the strong missionary influence. The tiputa was fashioned as a long piece of tapa that had a hole cut into the middle to be worn on the body like a poncho. Pants were made too. Articles of clothing were cut at the edges in fringes and cuts were made throughout the article in repetitive patterns, as in Futuna.
In the Cook Islands, as elsewhere in Polynesia, making bark cloth was done by women. However, a special, heavier, white cloth called tikoru was made by men. This was a special ceremonial bark cloth that was used to wrap around god images and was the attire of priests and high chiefs. This use may reflect the connection to spiritual beliefs that the chief and priests are descendant from the gods themselves.
(Neich & Pendergrast, Pacific Tapa, 1997).
Te Papa Tongarewa Museum in Aotearoa, New Zealand has an incredible collection of Pacific tapa on exhibit. The exhibition is on for 2 more days on site. Check out their awesome online tapa gallery by clicking on the link below!
Info about the onsite exhibit here:
pōpoki: Cat (said by some to be derived from English “poor pussy”). Pōpoki kī, a spitting cat [spiteful, malignant person]. Pōpoki lehu, Maltese cat; lit., ash cat. Pōpoki nāwaliwali, weak cat [a weakling]. Pōpoki peʻelua, gray cat with darker markings, as a tabby cat; lit., caterpillar cat.
hāʻawi: To give, grant, allot, hand, present; to bid as at auction; to offer; to deal, as cards; a deal. Hāʻawi lokomaikaʻi, to give freely, open-handed. Hāʻawi wale, to give freely, gratis.
heiau: Pre-Christian place of worship, shrine; some heiau were elaborately constructed stone platforms, others simple earth terraces. Many are preserved today. Several types are listed below. On the island of Kauaʻi where I live, there are 17 heiau located in the Na Pali district, 22 in the district of Haleleʻa, 20 in the Koʻolau district, 13 in the Puna district, and 81 in Kona district. Dedication of these heiau were to the four major gods; KU, KANE, KANALOA, and LONO, who represented Akua in natual phenomena. ʻAumakua were also honored by prayer and offerings.
Hale heiau, house of worship.
heiau hoʻōla: Heiau for treating sick.
heiau hoʻouluʻai: Heiau where first fruits were offered to insure further growth. Lit., heiau for the increase of food crops.
heiau hoʻoulu ua: Heiau where offerings were made to insure rain.
heiau hoʻoulu iʻa: Heiau where fish were offered to insure good fishing.
heiau kālua ua: Heiau for stopping rain, or (less frequently) for bringing rain. One such heiau named Imu-Kālua-ua (rain-baking oven) was in the Kaunakakai quadrangle, Molokaʻi; a land section in Puna, Hawaiʻi, also has this name. Rain in leaf packages is said to have been baked in an oven.
heiau maʻo: Small temporary heiau covered with tapa stained green (maʻo). Used for the hoʻouluʻai ceremony to bring food.
heiau poʻo kanaka: Heiau where human sacrifice was offered.
heiau waikaua: Heiau used for services to bring success in war.
luakini: Temple, church, cathedral, tabernacle; large heiau where ruling chiefs prayed and human sacrifices were offered; to perform temple work.
Luakini-type heiau were the largest and most complex and were sacrificial to KU. The KANE heiau were the simplest and were accessible to commoners. LONO heiau were dedicated to agriculture, and KANALOA heiau were associated with fishing. KU and LONO required complex worship and offerings.
Puʻu honua were places of refuge and restoration of pono when kapu was broken. The puʻu honua were consistent with Hawaiian protocol and would not be adjacent to heiau where human sacrifice was conducted. For example, at the puʻu honua at Wailua, Kauaʻi were for royal birth and burial. At such a place of mana and esteem, respite and peace was sought and mau haʻa lelea or repentance was made.
Faʻa Samoa…In the Samoan Way…
Dyes used in Samoan siapo come from nature. They are extracted or ground from nuts, tree bark, tree sap, roots, and seeds. There are five colors collected: oʻa is brown, lama is black, ago is yellow, loa is red, and soaʻa is purple. The traditional designs are symbols that reflect Samoan natural environment. There are 13 symbols used in siapo and they represent nets, coconut leaf and sennit, the trochus shell, pandanus blooms, pandanus leaves, breadfruit leaf, sandpiper bird designs, starfish, banana pod, rolled pandanus leaves, worm (this is almost extinct), centipede (which has been discontinued), and lastly, logologo (not found in modern siapo to the point that the meaning of this design has been lost). Original siapo artworks are made by combining these design elements (siapo.com).
There are two kinds of siapo design application methods practiced in Samoa and they are Siapo ʻElei (the rubbing method) and Siapo Mamanu (the freehand method). The Siapo ʻElei method leaves an imprint on the uʻa (bark cloth material). This is done by laying the uʻa on a design printing block that is carved into wood, called an upeti, and rubbing the uʻa with a swab that has been dipped in oʻa. Oʻa is a brown dye that is extracted from the bark of the Bishofia javanica, or blood tree. This is a pest in the Hawaiian Islands where it is known as the Bishop Tree or is called koko (blood). It is also called koko in Tonga and other island languages. The oʻa changes color over time from a pale tan to a rich, dark brown.
The next step in the process is to rub a red color over to define the design. Arrowroot plant is used as glue and is dabbed on any small holes, and then a second layer is placed on top and rubbing the oʻa is repeated, this time pressing the two layers together. Sections are joined using arrowroot and rubbing. This is usually the end of the process for large pieces known as ululima and uluselau. But for smaller pieces called vala, the design might be highlighted with more brown dye. Upeti in the older form was of both the sewn midrib variety as in Tongan kupesi, and also carved wood. Today, the men have been carving the upeti and have become the main artist of siapo ʻelei designs. However, they still base their designs on the traditional symbols. One upeti carving can yield many different imprints as dye can be applied to certain areas only to create an interesting design using the positive and negative space (Pacific Tapa, p. 16, 1997).
Siapo Mamanu is the freehand method of design and is creatively applied by hand using a dried pandanus brush, called a paogo. The design is created by the artist using black dye to sketch the design, and then the artist may choose to use a veriety of color to finish the piece (siapo.com)
These two methods of desing can also be combined to create unique artwork that is reinvented with each piece of uʻa. Siapo is one of the oldest art forms and symbols of Samoan culture. Used for clothing, burial shrouds, bed covers, ceremonial garments, and much more… (siapo.com)