Sunday, September 09, 2007

Fijian woman making mats

from w
Peceli brought back two fine mats for me, one made from voivoi, the other from kuta. Mats are often exchanged as gifts in formal ceremonies such as at funerals and conferences. I have about twenty mats now so we share them with relatives and friends.

There's always some one in the village cutting voivoi (pandanus) or kuta (reeds) and going through the tedious process of trimming, boiling, rolling, and eventually weaving the plant material into fine mats. Auntie Luisa at Vatuadova is busy with this kind of craftwork. And it's so in many villages. I've found some photos from Gau, from Yasawa and from Macuata of women making mats.

One expert is a woman from Cikobia Island, off shore from the northeast corner of Vanua Levu.
She is Penina Namata and she has been employed as a development officer with women in Macuata such as Navakasobu and Korovuli where the women use kuta for softer, yellowish mats.

Websites with some explanation about mat making are from fiji arts council and fijituwawa.


Pandabonium said...

Interesting post with great pics. We call it "lauhala" in Hawaii. That is hard work.

Anonymous said...

Special style of Cikobia Mats are known in Vanualevu as the Loga va ciobia se Ibe vakacikobia.
also similar to the one they found in Cikopia in solomon Island. and Thikobia in the Lau Group.

tuidomoniwai said...

i particularly dislike the use of "kula" on mats. much nicer with just the traditionally dyed brown/red and black.

a good post, thanks.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Bula si'a Tuidomoniwai,
Yes, I agree. The coloured wool looks fine when they are fresh, but soon the edges get tangled and untidy. The smooth edge is better.
About customs - well, a Melbourne girl brought back a kuta mat last week (a gift to a relative from the conference I expect) and it was confiscated at Melbourne Airport. The customs guy shook it and found some tiny insects apparently. So there's a caution to shake mats thoroughly at Nadi first!

Gaijinity said...


Do you know where it is possible in Australia to purchase such mats? I've just moved into my dream house and would love to have the kinds of mats we grew up with in place of carpet (ugh).


Penina said...

Bula re
To bad you're so far away in Ausie land I could have given you for free the coco (big mat) someone gave me as "vakamamaca" for pouring water on me on New Years day.But I have to wet you first before I hand it over!!!!

Happy New Year everyone.