05 May 2010

A stitch in time …

This tivaivai is quite possibly the oldest still in existence.
It was a farewell gift to the Rev JJK Hutchin on his return to New Zealand in 1912, where he reportedly died before the ship docked.
Rev Hutchin was a missionary for 30 years and was the first principal of Tereora College when it opened in 1895.
His great-grand daughter Carolyn McCracken brought the tivaivai back to Rarotonga for a short time in 2008 when this photograph was taken.
Tivaivai are appliqué and patchwork bedcovers made by women in the Cook Islands either working alone or in a group.
Some of the makers say it’s backbreaking work and certainly the finished products are not for daily use on a bed! They are treasured, and only brought out on special occasions.
In fact, the practice of using favoured tivaivai as shrouds for the deceased accounts for the scarcity of any over 60 years old.
The museum has a small collection of tivaivai and the library has several books on the subject (in the Pacific section).
We also have photographs of the Rev Hutchin and his family at the Takamoa Mission House and at the opening of Tereora College.
The history and practice of tivaivai making in the Cook Islands is fascinating. For an in-depth account CHECK THIS ARTICLE also on this blog.

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