From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Tukutuku panelling is a distinctive art form of the Māori people of New Zealand, a traditional latticework used to decorate meeting houses (wharenui).[1] Other names are tuitui and arapaki. Tukutuku flank the posts around the edge of the wharenui, the posts are usually carved and represent ancestors.[2] The patterns of tukutuku have symbolic meanings.[3]

Tukutuku are made with various materials. One description is vertical rods of toetoe stalks, with wooden slats across. These slats are held in place with knotting or weaving that forms a decorative pattern. The materials for this weaving are narrow strips of kiekie or harakake, some died black and the coastal plant pingao as yellow colour.[2] The traditional skills of tukutuku are held mostly within the Māori women weaving community alongside other Māori traditional weaving techniques as the skills of whakaīro (carving) are mostly held within the Māori men carving community. Tukutuku for a wharenui are designed alongside the tohunga whakairo (the master carver) as they have in mind the relationship to the other elements of the carvings and kōwhaiwhai to compliment each other.[4]

A wide range of named[5] patterns have developed, and these now are used in a wide variety of modern contexts[6] and act as a form of inspiration to New Zealand creative artists. Some of the names of tukutuku patterns are poutama, roimata toroa, kaokao and purapurawhetū.[3]

Distinctive tukutuku can be seen in the Hotunui meeting house that is being looked after by the Auckland Museum. These panels were made by women of Ngāti Maru at Parawai when the house was originally built in 1978. They are said to be the oldest and most complete tukutuku and have many motifs with a range of very complex patterns to simplicity.[2]


  1. ^ "Tukutuku Tuturu Maori", Educational booklet, Auckland Museum
  2. ^ a b c Pendergrast, Mick (2005). Māori fibre techniques : a resource book for Māori fibre arts : ka tahi hei tama tū tama. Auckland, N.Z.: Reed. ISBN 978-0-7900-1010-6. OCLC 62350406.
  3. ^ a b Paama-Pengelly, Julie (2010). Māori art and design : weaving, painting, carving and architecture. Auckland, N.Z.: New Holland. ISBN 978-1-86966-244-8. OCLC 587380800.
  4. ^ Puketapu-Hetet, Erenora. Māori weaving. Lower Hutt. ISBN 978-0-473-37129-6. OCLC 974620127.
  5. ^ "Stories of the Tukutuku Patterns", http://christchurchcitylibraries.com
  6. ^ "Tukutuku panel" Archived 2013-02-09 at the Wayback Machine, Palmerston North City Library