Maori Piupiu Skirt
The authentic Maori piupiu is crafted using the flax plant leaves. Harakeke, or flax as it is more commonly known, grows best in swampy areas. The Maori used flax in making clothing, sandals, and piupiu as well as fashioning sleeping mats, food containers and items that other Polynesian islanders typically made out of lauhala.
The piupiu experienced a revival at the beginning of the 20th century as the Maori culture began a cultural renaissance. Eye catching patterns and the rustling sound as the wearer moves, added to the distinctive overall presentation and effect. The piupiu however was not a practical accessory in ancient times as the noise would be easily heard by the enemy and take away any hope of a surprise attack.
The process of making a traditional piupiu skirt is long and labor intensive. From cultivating and collecting the flax leaves, to preparing and scraping patterns using mussel shells, to boiling and immersing the flax in mud, the curled leaves are eventually carefully woven together using the inner fiber of the flax leaf (para) to form the piupiu skirt and waistband.
Performing dance groups (kapa haka) made up of men, women and children have worn the piupiu as a standard in dress when performing. Costumes also include other items such as taniko (hand woven) headbands and bodices, rapaki (men's malo), feathers, earrings and bone and greenstone (pounamu) adornments.
Sizing is adjustable due to the long length of the waistband.
Taitamaiti (Child/Small) - 15" long and 32" waistband (extra length to 48")
Tane (Men/Large) - 18" long and 36" waistband (extra length to 54")
Wahine (Women/Long) - 24" long and 36" waistband (extra length to 54")