Mu’umu’u styles from a Cook Islands mama

To celebrate Cook Islands language week (6 -10 August), the Pacific Cultures team are blogging about collection items from the Cook Islands.

Mu’umu’u (dress); FE012459; Purchased 2009; Te Papa

Mu’umu’u (dress); FE012459; Purchased 2009; Te Papa

These mu’umu’u (dress) are part of a number of dresses acquired by the Pacific Cultures collection in 2009 from Tepaeru Tereora. Tereora was the fifth National President for Pacific Allied (Women’s) Council Inspires Faith Ideals Concerning All Incorporation which was established in 1977. The mu’umu’u dresses were made for Mrs Tereora during her time as president by various branches of the P.A.C.I.F.I.C.A organisation.

Mu’umu’u (dress); FE012460; Purchased 2009; Te Papa

Mu’umu’u (dress); FE012460; Purchased 2009; Te Papa

The mu’umu’u or mother hubbard style dress was introduced by missionaries to the Cook Islands in the 1820s. For various reasons including ideas about modesty and the fashion trend, the mu’umu’u was adopted in the nineteenth century. Since its introduction, the mu’umu’u like those belonging to Tereora have become a vital part of Cook Islands fashion style.

View the Tales from Te Papa video featuring  Tepaeru Tereora:

Tales from Te Papa Series 2011, Episode 3 | P.A.C.I.F.I.C.A. Dresses

Unknown woman; B.028279; Crummer, George circa 1910 ; Te Papa

Unknown woman; B.028279; George Crummer, circa 1910 ; Te Papa

One Response

  1. Ani O'Neill

    Kia orana! just to let everyone know – if you don’t already – the Cook Islands are a Self Governing Nation – and have been since August 4 1965 (we have just celebrated our birthday and the signing of our Constitution with a fantastic ‘Te Maeva Nui’ Festival!)… so we aren’t actually a possession of anyone except ourselves 🙂
    Yes come and see it for yourselves!


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