Pingao & Toetoe

Pingao & Toetoe

These two garments depict the love story between Pingao  who is a daughter of Tangaroa the god of the ocean, and Kakaho (the stem of Toetoe) a son of Tane Mahuta, the god of the forest.


Day after day, Pingao would gaze longingly from the lapping waves as Toetoe’s beautiful white plumes blew in the wind and serenaded her from the shoreline. One day she rode the incoming tide as far as she could and clambered up the sand dunes. Unfortunately the sun was beating down and without the water of the ocean to sustain her she never made it to her lover’s side.


Left - Toetoe  (Cortaderia spp) , Right - Pingao  (Desmoschoenus spiralis)

Weavers now gather the golden leaves of Pingao and stitch them together with the stems of Kakaho to weave the beautiful patterned Tukutuku panels that can be found in the Wharenui (meeting house) to be honored and admired by the people and bound together for eternity.


Tragic romance is the inspiration of using the grasses in these creations - here we see costumes (albeit they don't leave much to the imagination!), but a great part of the Maori tradition was the weaving of baskets and vessels for function and decoration. One of our designers, Lucy Tupu, takes reference from that with the Flax collection, using the weaving of NZ woollen felt as the upholstery of furniture.


From raw material, our heritage and to application into contemporary furniture, the link is visible. 


The stunning costumes have been loaned to us by the weavers: Ruth Woodbury and Bethany Matai Edmunds. Thank you for your enthusiam for allowing us to show this beautiful and much admired display.




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