Yesterday our group of friends met for lunch followed by an outing to the adjacent small museum. I was delighted to find an exhibition of tivaivai, traditional bed covers (made without batting) and cushions stitched by Cook Island ladies who now reside in New Zealand. These brightly coloured bed covers reflect the way of life in their home islands, and are similar of those made in Hawaii.
In the islands the tivaivai are either traditionally made by one woman or stitched in groups called vainetini. The vainetini use this time together to bond, sing and catch up on village news. Tivaivai are valuable in ritual exchanges which mark family ‘life’ events, and other gifting events which draw people together through family and social networks.
“Taku Mama” exhibits the work of Pacific women in the Community, keeping their island culture alive and passing on their skills to younger women. The Tivaivai depicts personal narratives that have been shared and passed down for generations.
Photo courtesy of Pataka Museum