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Power and Taboo: sacred objects from the Pacific
The wives of missionaries introduced cloth sewing to the islanders of the eastern Pacific. Many women greeted these new skills and materials with enthusiasm and the manufacture of barkcloth, the traditional material out of clothing was made, gradually declined.
In the Cook, Hawaiian and Society islands, women began to make large appliqué quilts known as tivaevae.
This tivaevae, made as a bed cover with two matching pillowcases, comes from the Cook Islands. Its yellow flowers and light green leaves are based on the breadfruit tree and were designed and cut by Mrs Ake Takaiti, a nurse at the hospital in Rarotonga who is known for her drawing and cutting skills. It was sewn by Mrs Ake Mingi from Teenui village on Atiu island for a competition organised by the Cook Islands Christian Church in 2001. She has five children and started sewing tivaevae when she got married in 1963.
Tivaevae are treated as heirlooms in the Cook Islands today.