A selection of cultural objects with their authentic names to celebrate Cook Island Language Week. We give thanks to the Cook Island Knowledge Holders who generously shared this information during Akairo a te Taunga, The Pacific Collection Access Project at Tāmaki Paenga Hira, Auckland War Memorial Museum.
Pare. Hat. Made from rauara (pandanus leaf) and woven out in twill. Commencement is from the top of the crown. The body of the crown consists of multiple strips of woven rauara, hand-sewn together, using cotton thread. The crown is hand-sewn to the taupare (rim). The taupare consists of multiple strips of woven rauara, machine-sewn together, using cotton thread. The taupare is decorated with five flowers, five semi-circular shapes, and ara vivi (chain), all made of rauara. The taupara has a vana (scalloped edge). Natural golden brown in colour.
Tairiiri. Fan. Composite tairiiri with blade woven from kikau ou (young coconut leaf), dyed-red overlaid apuraka (giant swamp taro) akamanea (decoration) and dyed-red kiriau (hibiscus fibre) akaverevere (fringe), attached to mauranga (handle) rakau (wooden). The blade is in shape of an inverted triangle. Plaited commencement at centre base of the blade. Woven out in vertical twill from the centre to form lower edge and sides of blade. Mostly natural colour with dyed-red overlaid strips of apuraka forming pattern along the top of the blade. Top edge of the blade is flat with strips of dyed-red kiriau interwoven into the blade, forming the akaverevere. Blade is attached to a shaped mauranga rakau and lashed at the centre base of the blade with dyed-red strips of apuraka. Mauranga, is of rakau tou (Island Walnut, Cordia subcordata wood).
Ei. Necklace. Composed of poepoe (blue/white coloured seeds) and pupu rengarenga (yellow necklace-shell, Orobophana pacifica shell). The pupu (shells) and seeds are bored, with cotton thread threaded through the holes forming the ei. The ei has been shortened by twisting and looping it a few times. Held together by a piece of red and white fabric.
Ruatangaeo (Hafted Adze)
Ruatangaeo. Hafted adze. Consists of carved rakau (wooden) handle and toki (stone adze blade). Haft is carved from rakau, intricately carved with a squared pedestal base. Top of the haft carved out to accommodate the fitting of toki. A piece of shark skin covers the top which would otherwise be open. Puru akari (braided coconut sennit) of a fine weave lashed on to the top of the haft. K-form carving motifs (signature Mangaian carving motif) carved onto the rakau pedestal, among other geometric motifs. Toki is able to be separated from haft. Carved from dark coloured toka (stone). Trapezoidal cross-section with dull cutting edge. Prominent shoulder. Polished at the blade, left rough and pecked at the butt and poll.
Matau (Fish Hook)
Matau. Fish hook. Used as a deep sea fishing hook particularly for manga (barracuda). Shank is carved from light weight section of rakau (wood) kaute (hibiscus). Shank's surface is not polished and left in natural colour. Nio (hook point) auri (metal) with barb attached by twine lashing to the terminal end of the shank with reinforcement of tightly coiled auri wire. Top of the shank coiled with auri wire.
Ei katu (Head Ornament)
Ei Katu. Head ornament. Ei katu is circular, flat and lined with brown tapa (barkcloth) with kiriau (hibiscus fibre) akamanea (decoration). The outside of the ei katu is decorated with wide and narrow jagged-edged strips tapa. Coiled strips of light beige/yellow coloured kiriau are sewn in the centre of the tapa. Small light coloured spiral shaped pupu (shells) are sewn in the centre of each akamanea. All decorative elements are hand sewn into the band using kiriau strands.
Pareu (Dance Skirt)
Pareu. Dance skirt. Composite materials used in its manufacture. Mutiple strands of kiriau (Tree Hibiscus, Hibiscus tiliaceus fibre) thickly layered. Top of the strands woven into a wide band across the garment with dark blue material overlaid on top of this section. Decorative elements sewn into this waistband portion include Pupu Rengarenga (Yellow Necklace-shell, Orobophana pacifica), Tungangi (Pacific Strawberry Cockle, Fragum fragum), Ua Puka (Lantern Tree seeds, Hernandia nymphaeifolia), poepoe (Job's Tears, Coix lacryma-jobi), Ua Mata Koviriviri (Red-bead Tree seeds, Adenanthera pavonina), all sewn into the fabric with bright red cotton. Garment has decorative kiriau akatautau (tassels) of natural and dyed-red colour. Lower part of of the kiriau skirt is natural in colour but dyed red at the lower edge.
Toki. Adze. Multipurpose tool used for carving wood and other materials. Carved from toka (stone). Dark in colour. Triangular in cross-section. Sharp cutting edge. Bevel is concave. Sides are highly polished. Front of the blade is slightly rounded, and highly polished. Prominent shoulder. From shoulder reduced to butt and poll. Butt and poll are left pecked. Overall surface treatment is highly polished.
Matau (Fish Hook)
Matau. Fish hook. Large, for deep sea Fishing. Shank carved from whale bone with dark parau (pearl shell) lashed to the back, cracked, small loss at shell. Hole drilled at top of shank. Nio (hook) point with barb carved and ground down from shell, possibly onu (turtle shell). Two holes at base of nio point lashed with twine through both. Snood of thick fibre cord looped through at nio point then fastened and connected up to drilled hole at shank's head. Hackle of cord/twine at base of shank.
Reru. Pounder. Carved from toka Mangaia (stalactite stone from Mangaia) Used for pounding/mashing food or ingredients for producing dyes. Flat pounding surface. Smooth surface overall. Conical in overall shape. Transverse grip. Tan/light brown in colour.
Tiputa. Poncho. Made of tapa (barkcloth) from the kuru (Breadfruit tree, Artocarpus altilis). Tiputa has akaverevere (fringing) and is decorated with rows of geometric patterns incised across the tiputa. Neckline is incised in patara (serrated) edges. Dark brown in colour and black in colour on reverse side.
Kete kikau (Personal Bag)
Kete. Bag. Kete kikau. Used for storing personal items. Woven from kikau ou (young coconut leaf). Kikau (coconut leaves) woven in diagonal 3/3 twill. Weaving is wider at the rim and narrower at the base. Commencement at rim and finished at base in an iri taki toru (three ply braid) on the outside of kete. Natural colour.
Meitaki ma'ata, With thanks to the Cook Island Knowledge Holders who participated in Akairo a te Taunga (Pacific Collection Access Project) at Tāmaki Paenga Hira, Auckland War Memorial Museum.