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Introduction to Taniko

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Maori Costume and Taniko

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List of Taniko Weaving Books

The following list is based on books I either own or have borrowed from the library. The comments accompanying each book listed below are my own personal opinions and are offered here without prejudice.

1. Te Whatu Taniko - Taniko Weaving: Technique and Tradition
by Hirini Moko Mead;
published 1999, Reed Publishing (NZ) Ltd, Auckland, NZ.
ISBN: 0790006790

One of the two definitive books on the subject. This is the 3rd version of the book - an earlier version is listed down further. There are extensive chapters on history, technique, patterns and classification of patterns, and a how-to chapter. Almost all of the earlier version (#5 below) is included in this book with some new photos and text. Excellent black and white images throughout the book, and good, clear line drawings in the instruction section.

2. Weaving a Kakahu
by Diggeress Te Kanawa;
published 1992, Bridget Williams Books Ltd, Wellington, NZ
in association with Aotearoa Moananui a Kiwa Weavers.
ISBN: 0908912080

The second definitive book on weaving, including taniko, this is a book I personally treasure. It concentrates on the total process of collection, preparation and dying muka (weaving materials) and demonstrates the weaving process of a Kakahu (cloak) with taniko weaving across the bottom edge. While the whole book is an excellent tutorial, the line drawing diagrams that illustrate instructional text are not only well done, but are also very informative in their own right. There are also beautiful colour and black and white images all through the book.

Added 25 February 2006
3. The Art of Maori Weaving
The Eternal Thread Te Aho Mutunga Kore
by Miriama Evans and Ranui Ngarimu - Norman Heke Photography:
published 2005, Huia Publishers, Wellington, NZ
ISBN: 1-86969-161-x

This book is definitely another personal treasure. It is published as part of the "Te Aho Mutunga Kore - The Eternal Thread" exhibition of Maori weaving currently touring parts of North America. While it is not an instructional book, the text and the quality of the truly magnificent photos provide an opportunity to learn from Master Weavers. (Short personal note here - I have not lived in New Zealand for more than 30 years. Other than one very happy occasion, I have not had the opportunity to view other pieces or to learn from others since I was a child. The combination of my visit to The Eternal Thread exhibition, and this book, are invaluable so that I can study and learn from Master Weavers and broaden my skills and knowledge.)
Of particular and very special note - and featured in this book - the kakahu named Te Mahutonga woven by Te Aue Davis and .Ranui Ngarimu, was presented to the New Zealand Olympic Committee to be worn by the flag bearers of participating New Zealand teams in future Summer and Winter Olympics Games

Added 28 April 2006
4. Maori Fibre Techniques
Ka Tahi hei tama tu tama
by Mick Pendergrast
published 2005, Reed Publishing, (NZ) Ltd
ISBN: 0 7900 1010 0

Not a book of instructions, per sť, but a book that demonstrates to the reader a wide spectrum of weaving techniques, including raranga, whiri, taniko, twining, whatu, tukutuku, wickerwork, netting, and many more techniques of which some are now almost unknown. Further to the sections on each of these techniques, the book also offers some comparisons between weaving techniques used by other cultures around the Pacific basin. Profusely illustrated with both line drawings and superb photos, this book is another magnificent addition to my small library of books on the weaving arts of the Maori people. My respect and admiration for Mick Pendergrast's work grows yet again.

5. The Art of Taaniko Weaving
by Sidney M. Mead (same person as #1, above)
published 1968 by A.H. & A.W. Reed (no ISBN given)

This is the earlier first version of the above book (#1). You may still be able to find this one in your local library. Was the original and best known book on the subject. Uses the Auckland University style of Maori spelling with long vowels doubled - this was slightly bewildering in that regard. I expect this book is no longer in print, but it is listed here since it should still be available to borrow from your local library.

6. Maori Weaving
by Erenora Puketapu-Hetet;
published 1989, Pitman Publishing, Auckland 10, NZ
ISBN: 0908575777

A useful book, which includes instructional sections on raranga (weaving a flax basket) and whiri (plaiting). Also discusses taniko (no instructions) tukutuku, etc. Very nice picture section in the centre of the book. Shows taniko weaving in items that are both modern and traditional.
Good for generalized interest, not an in-depth study of taniko in particular.

7. Ceremonial Costume - The Arts of the Maori Instructional Booklet
published by the Art and Crafts Branch of the Department of Education, Wellington, NZ.
(No ISBN.)

This is/was a booklet intended for use in schools. It covers the making of a pari, tipare, tatua, (all done in cross stitch on canvas) as well as making a piupiu. Also includes basic instruction on taniko weaving. In an extensive search on the internet I found only one reference to this booklet. It was originally printed by the Government Printer, but this service has apparently ceased to exist, and the Department of Education has been re-invented as a different organisation.
Although it is a rather interesting and somewhat useful resource, I can't recommend this booklet since I do not know if it is still available or not. However, it is occasionally available for bids on CAUTION:- one particular Waikato area seller sets her opening bids at outrageous prices that are seriously over-inflated on books that are often in poor condition.

Other Books of interest:

Feathers and Fibre:
A Survey of Traditional and Contemporary Maori Craft

by Mick Pendergrast;
published 1984, Penguin Books (NZ) Ltd, Auckland, NZ
ISBN: 0140068384

This is a wonderful book of images which show taniko weaving, piupiu, a variety of cloak styles, kete whakairo, raranga, pari (a woman's bodice), woven hats, etc. Text beside the black and white image of each item includes details of the weaver's name, tribal affiliation, date, materials used and other pertinent information. I don't own this book but I sure wish I did. It is apparently out of print. Another book by the same author is immediately below.

Te Aho Tapu
by Mick Pendergrast;
published 1987, University of Hawaii Press,
in association with the Auckland Institute and Museum
ISBN: 0824811437

This book does not include taniko weaving, but it is an excellent resource for people who wish to study the traditional classes of kahu (or kakahu - cloaks). It discusses the techniques used in the weaving and surface adorment of each type of cloak and describes each cloak shown in the "Te Aho Tapu - The Sacred Thread" exhibition mounted by the Auckland Institute and Museum in 1987. Includes a description and black and white image of each cloak, and also a fine coloured plate section.

New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts
by Glen Pownall;
published 1976, Seven Seas Publishing Pty Ltd, Wellington, NZ
ISBN: 854670335

It's been quite awhile since I last looked at this book (in the reference section at the Vancouver Public Library). There is a very nice chapter included in the book on styles of taniko.

Taaniko: Maori Hand-weaving
by Joyce Ronald Smith;
published 1975, Scribner, New York.
ISBN: 068414204X

Being a lifelong traditional taniko weaver, this book offends me. The author's arrogant and perfunctory dismissal of traditional weavers and their work left me gasping when I read it. I have included this American woman's book on my list, however, for one reason only - there is a place for it!

Copyright© 2003 - 2006, Judy Shorten

The opinions expressed herein are my own, and are without prejudice. This page is the creation and sole property of Judy Shorten

Originally created April 28, 2003