Mahina Expeditions offers offshore sail-training expeditions, offshore cruising seminars and boat purchase consultation.

Mahina Expeditions offers offshore sail-training expeditions, offshore cruising seminars and boat purchase consultation.

It was a pure joy to arrive in Raivavae
and to meet some delightful
new friends.

These girls were rather shy but inquisitive and very ready to practice their English. They marveled at me spending the windy afternoons out on the windsurfer and when asked to join me they declined but returned the offer for a tour aboard...


with a visit to their simple
but beautifully gardened homes.

A Pure Delight!



Upon our arrival in Tubuai it was a pleasure to renew my friendship with Janet who presented me with a welcoming flower crown. I eagerly expressed interest on how it was made and after completing the Triathlon we had a few hours together before our departure for Tahiti.





We quickly went to work snipping fresh flowers and leaves, not to mention basil from Janet's garden. She then taught us to plat three strands of dried pandanus leaves inserting the flowers and leaves as we crossed each plat. Crowns can be varied and are most often very colorful. They are worn for many occasions especially Tahitian dancing.




I also informed Janet of my interest in the quilting of Tahiti called tifaifai. She quickly disappeared inside and soon reappeared with two quilts.
The red and white quilt I am holding (wearing the finished crown) is a rose design of Janet's grandmothers while Janet is holding the current quilt she is working on which is a turtle motif.



Upon arrival in Tahiti I was able to purchase a new book demonstrating the many designs and patterns of tifaifai which was introduced to tahiti by the missionaries in the 19th century. The shapes and colors are the expression of nature and life in the islands and the quilts date back to 1896.






Mama Ruau making a patchwork.






Having enjoyed the tifaifai's in Tahiti I was eager to learn more about the quilting of the Cook Islands. The Beachcomber Gallery in downtown Avarua specializes in the islands arts and crafts. I chatted with Mata, the consultant who was most helpful in explaining the tradition of the quilts they had on display. Based on the principle of applique, the quilts called tivaevae are generally a flower motif. It was interesting to note that four main quilting differences have evolved between the islands of Tahiti, Cooks and also Hawaii.

The Hawaiian guilt has a pattern similar to the tafaifai except the top design is placed upon batting with base layer of fabric. The design is then quilted with colored matching thread in concentric rings following the motif.

The tifaifai is generally two basic colors whereas the tivaevae incorporates a third color for the flower.

The tifaifai design is one large joining piece, very much like folding a piece of paper and cutting a snowflake, except as they don't have snow in Tahiti they have adapted the design to the surrounding nature. The tivaevae of the Cooks is more disjointed with the leaves and flowers overlapping. The Cook Island tivaevae flower is then embodied to give it more life and definition. The thread most often used is a contrasting variegated cotton.

Last year I had spied a book presenting tivaevae designs and their creators. Sadly the book was out of print but I was advised by Mata that is should be available by the end of the year. I have put my order in and anyone else interested can write to the Beachcomber, P.O. Box 91, Rarotonga, Cook Islands, to request it.

A lily tivaevae displayed by Mata and Amanda. Note the beautiful pink embroidery highlighting the lily flower.


Click on your interest for:

Hiking - Noumea

Pacific Island Weaving

Pacific Island Quilting

Braided Eye Splice

Dancing - Vanuatu

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