Sir Sidney (Hirini) Moko Mead is a leading authority on Maori art and culture. He had a distinguished university career at Victoria University and internationally, has written numerous books, was a driving force behind the Te Maori exhibition, and has been a leader of his tribe, Ngati Awa. He was knighted in 2009 for services to Maori and education. Sir Hirini lives in Wellington.
The taniko technique is a specialist method of weaving predominant in traditional Maori costumes. Maori weavers evolved a method of finger weaving to construct geometrical patterns, traditionally in red, black and white, for use in headbands, belts and bodices. Starting with the history of traditional Maori costumes, this book offers a description of taniko weaving, its discovery and development. The author details the materials used, traditionally flax (Phormium tenax) and its preparation, together with how fibres were dyed. There is an interesting chapter on style and taniko patterns illustrating how this has changed through the ages. This is followed by a classification of patterns which are presented in draft form for weavers to use. The instructions for learning the taniko weaving technique are presented toward the end of the book. These include designing a pattern; warp and weft preparation; casting on to form a selvedge and weaving the pattern. The instructions for a sampler and belt are given in diagrammatic form and are relatively easy to follow. There are also ideas for adding ornamentations such as tags, pompoms and fringes. I found this book fascinating as both a cultural history and insight into Maori costume and an instructional guide to taniko weaving. - Jill Riley, Glamorgan and Online Guilds