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The Coming of the Maori

Local Development

Local Development

From the preceding descriptions, it is apparent that the ancestors of the Maori brought the principles of the coconut-leaf and pandanus-leaf techniques with them to New Zealand. They were applied to nikau leaves and flax and eventually flax became the staple material for plaiting. Certain adjustments had to be made because of the different nature of flax material. The scraping of the ends of the flax wefts to facilitate the braid commencement of green flax mats and baskets was a local develop-page 157ment. The change from the overlapping join of Polynesia to the double fringed join of New Zealand was due primarily to the difference between pandanus and flax. The simple overlapping join was found to be insecure with the stiffer flaxen wefts and so the join was made more secure by turning back the ends of the old wefts with a technique adapted from the established process of disposing of weft ends at the finishing edge. The braid finish was probably the original technique used with green flax. It was retained in the tapora oven covers, but in floor mats, the tapiki finish was probably borrowed from the sleeping mats. The main problems of plaiting had been solved before the Maori ancestors left Polynesia, but certain adjustments were necessitated by the change in material.