Welcome to the third blog in our series focusing on Niue taoga (treasures) from Te Papa’s collection for Vagahau (Language) Niue Week (6-13 October).
This titi (skirt) was collected in the 1920s by H W Cockerill a telegraphic engineer for the General Post Office who helped install a wireless telephone station on Niue. The titi, one of several are made of natural hibiscus bast fibres dyed in pink, red and green,and decorated with rosettes. They indicate a preference at the time for dying natural materials. This is similar to Cook Islands dance costumes from the same period.
Along with the titi, Cockerill acquired other items including tablemats, iliili (fan) and the lei (necklace) below.
Since the beginning of New Zealand annexation in 1901, New Zealanders such as Cockerill visited the island for work, travel and leisure. In 1973, Cockerill’s collection was acquired from his son, and provide a snapshot of items produced in that period.