Tapa: Pacific style 

Exhibition now closed 25 Sep 2009 – 5 Sep 2010
Free entry
Arts; Pacific 

Tapa (bark cloth) objects from Hawai'i, Tahiti, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Niue, Samoa, Cook Islands, Uvea (Wallis) & Futuna, and Tonga are on display in the Eyelights gallery on Level 4, the exhibition space dedicated to fashion and textiles.

Among them, see blue tapa from the Solomon Islands, stunning contemporary tapa from Hawai'i.

Tapa is cloth material made from the pounded inner bark of various trees, such as paper mulberry or breadfruit trees. Each island group has its own distinctive and unique patterns, concepts and uses, but the process for making tapa is a common link.  

Tongan tapa-making in action

A Te Papa team (Safua Akeli, curator Pacific Cultures; Emma Best, interpreter; and Michael Hall, photographer) travelled to Auckland in April to film Tongan tapa-making especially for screening in the exhibition.

View the objects in this exhibition