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The Coming of the Maori



Decoration in plaiting was effected by changing the stroke from check to twill and simple geometric effects were produced by altering the number of wefts crossed in the twilled technique from the two usually to five. Further decoration was obtained by dyeing some wefts black. As foundation wefts, the black wefts had to continue on their oblique course to where they ended at a join (Pl. VI).

The only other native colour to black, used in plaiting, was yellow obtained by using wefts of pingao, the leaves of which are a natural yellow. The reddish brown dye used in weaving was not used in plaiting probably because it did not take well with unscutched flax. Some change in the appearance of small fancy satchels was obtained by using thin layers of bark from the houhi or ribbon-wood. In these, rosettes and tassels were formed but the idea was late European (Pl. VII).

A form of small satchel suitable as a handbasket for women was made from scutched flax fibre by the process of weaving either by the two-pair interlocking technique or by the taniko method. These satchels were decorated along the end and bottom edges with a fringe of white flax fibre.

The use of European trade dyes widened the field of decoration for those craftswomen manufacturing for trade, but the over use of new colours such as green and purple was not pleasing as compared with the older designs in black and white. However, the overdecorated articles were readily bought by the pakeha, notwithstanding, and hence stimulated a trade which was responsible for a variety of designs not previously known.