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Tapa Cloth

Episode:38Te Papa Collection:Pacific Cultures

Suggested curriculum levels:3 – 6

Curriculum connections:English: Listening, Reading, and Viewing, The Arts: Understanding the Arts in Context Developing Practical Knowledge, Social Sciences: Identity, Culture, and Organisation

Description:Eco fashion is nothing new in the Pacific islands. For centuries they've been wearing tapa cloth, made from the beaten bark of trees. These days it's still popular for special occasions.

Questions for students

  1. What does the presenter mean when she says tapa 'takes a lot of beating'? How is tapa used? What was the most interesting thing you learned about tapa from this Tale?
  2. What processes are used to turn a piece of bark into tapa? Are the same processes used in all Pacific islands? If not, how are they different? How could you find out more? Use the 'Key questions' response template to record questions and information from this and other sources.
  3. Why did Jakki Leota-Ete want her wedding dress to be made of tapa? What is your opinion of the tapa wedding dress? What other ideas do you have for using a material like tapa? What are its limitations as a fabric?
  4. From what you already know about museums and their collections, why do you think Te Papa holds in trust the wedding dress and the older garment? What does 'rare' mean in this context?
  5. Why do you think cotton has replaced tapa in Pacific islands? What other older, hand-made materials have been replaced by modern materials? Given some examples.

Related templates:

Key questions