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Tukutuku or Decorative Panels

Tukutuku or Decorative Panels.

The framework and rigid elements of the panels filling the interspaces between the carved slabs of different patterns is called pu-kiore.

The flexible elements, keikei, both plain white and black, and pingao, were assembled by the Maori Purposes Board.

The stitching and lashing of the panels were first started in an outbuilding of the Old Dominion Museum, behind Parliament Buildings, by young women selected from the district between Otaki, Gisborne and Wellington, who were instructed in the art by Sir A. T. Ngata. The technique displayed in the finished panels is unequalled in any other building in the Dominion.

The patterns follow closely the standards adopted and well known in the East Coast districts. Two features of old-time superior houses (Porourangi at Wai-o-matatini and Hamokorau at Whakato) are revived in the panels.

The central rod tunatakahuki or kahuki was twined round with the overlapping wrapped stitch known as pihapiha-mango (East Coast) or whakaiwituna (Roto-rua), and finished off with a carved top. The kahopatu or batten covered the space at the eaves between the roof and wall, and between the carved upright slabs. This pattern is not painted as in most modern meeting page 206houses, but is bound with kiekie or pingao (or a combination of both) as in the old houses.